Matthew 14: 22- 33 “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
To the people of Jesus’ time, the stormy sea with its unleashed power represented the forces of chaos, threatening to break loose and destroy the civilized order. The story of Jesus’ walk on the water denotes God’s ability to surmount tumult as Jesus goes to the vulnerable, tempest-tossed boat that carries the disciples, the nascent church.
The forces of chaos are equally present today: flood-ravaged Kentucky; new disease variants and strains affecting world populations; battles, conflict, and divisiveness on foreign fields of wheat, domestic small towns, and cities, and yes, sadly amidst the stained glass and crimson-colored rugs of congregations that hold the Cross of Christ above the communion rail; all serve as reminders of the ever-present possibilities for mayhem and destruction in life. Yet God’s ample power to bring order and mercy to humankind still works to build faith, healing, reconciliation, and hope. But do we always believe that?
Like Peter, we crave concrete proof that God will save us. We doubt God’s goodness will prevail. The challenge is to stop looking at the tumultuous waves around us and instead focus on the steadfast presence of the living Christ. I am grateful that God sees our faith and weakness, forgiving our doubts while stretching out a strong arm to steady us.
How should we respond? Well, I have always loved Peter because, even in his failure, he still gets out of the boat and approaches Jesus with the courage of faith. He reaches for that robust and outstretched arm, even after he wavers. I think Peter, growing in sanctification, is beginning to understand God’s grace will prevail and brings us to a place of peace.
PRAYER: Jesus, help me keep my heart and mind centered on your presence, even in moments when stressors of life seem overwhelming, and I am besieged with doubts. Guide my faith journey so I may face the world strengthened and renewed. In the name of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.