“But when Peter saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid.”
Peter did not just see the wind that day when he dared to walk on water with Jesus. He saw the strength of the wind! And it caused him great fear in his heart, mind, and soul.
Our circumstances have the power to overwhelm us by their strength – maybe they are coming toward us viciously – loss of job, illness, troubles, conflict. Too much, too powerful, too daunting, and too impossible, they come and won’t relent.
We soon become engulfed with the terror they cause. Why? We choose to lean into the strength of the wind and not the power of our Savior.
Not quite a decade ago, our family went on vacation. We had not been in seven years. We decided to take two weeks and head to Hilton Head, SC. A week into the vacation, my husband got very ill. His illness turned into multiple trips to the hospital there on the island. It turns out that it was acute pancreatitis.
Dan’s illness was so severe that the doctor pulled me aside to prepare me for my husband’s impending death. The doctor assured me they would do everything that could be done to save him, but he also told me the truth: When anyone got acute pancreatitis with this severity, they did not live through it.
My heart sank! My hope lost! I faced the impossible. We had four teens back at the hotel. I had the difficult task of telling them their father may not live through this. The realization that I may not have a husband anymore; that my best friend, my partner, lover, and companion in the Lord would not be with me ever again about killed me. The weight of this lay heavy on my heart, mind, and soul. And the strength of it all grabbed hold of me, threatening to take me down to the pit of total despair. I thought for sure I could not survive this!
Peter headed in this same pit of which I was sinking.
“Jesus went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. But the boat, what He sent His disciples out in, was battered by the waves because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the sea, the disciples were terrified!”
I always find this segment interesting. The disciples, so immersed in their fear, thought their help was a ghost instead of their Savior. We can often miss Jesus, our Help, when blinded by the terror of our troubles.
But Jesus didn’t leave them in their fear. He spoke with hope, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, not sure, but confident cried out, “Lord if it’s You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Immediately “Jesus said, ‘Come,’ and climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on water. Coming toward His Lord, Peter saw the strength of the wind, and became afraid.”
Peter, often criticized by today’s believer for his lack of belief, teaches us three words that regain the courage we need in our times of troubles.
“Lord, save me!”
Peter started in fear – then faith – then fear – then faith again. Like Peter, our faith journey can be much like a yo-yo. Would you agree?
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus did not criticize Peter for his lack of faith; instead, I believe He encouraged him not to doubt. Yes, He pointed out his lack of faith, but the question to Peter was a statement: “If you did not doubt Me, you would have seen greater possibilities. Your doubt short-circuited the power I wanted to display in and through you.”
Standing there listening to the doctor tell me this horrible news about my husband, my grief of what could happen was great. Silently, praying, “Lord help me!” I suddenly gained supernatural courage. I straightened up, chose to believe God for the impossible, and I leaned into the Lord and His power. I read the Psalms every day. I turned each one into a prayer for my husband. I reached out to the church and petitioned for all to ask God for Dan’s healing.
Amazing things happened over the course of the next three to four weeks. Dan, was in ICU, hanging onto a mere thread of life, but God was working. Not only was he healed, but I also had the opportunity to share the power of Jesus with many in that ICU unit. I prayed for and with others on that floor. God was working. He is always working. He never sleeps nor slumbers.
He is Jehovah-Shammah – The Lord is here.
Dan did not come out of this illness unscarred. He no longer has a gall bladder, and his pancreas is barely functioning. He has diabetes due to the pancreas not producing insulin, but he is alive! He is with us. And we rejoice. His faith is greater. Our family’s faith is stronger. Prayer became even more prominent in our life.
We saw greater possibilities because we chose to not short-circuit God’s power by allowing doubt to be our master. We fought the good fight of faith not giving into the strength of the trouble, but instead leaning deeply into Jehovah-Shammah.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the power of your problems? Lean differently – into God’s omnipotence. Find courage! Find hope!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Photo by By KieferPix