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But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

It was dark. The storm was so deep that even the ambient light of the night was swallowed by the roaring wind. Only the occasional flash of lightning gave the men any indication of their situation and allowed them to see the fear in each other’s faces. While some rowed hopelessly, the others prayed. Where was Jesus? Why had he sent them out to die in this way?

Then, almost as if on cue from a distant director, they saw it. A faint glow on the horizon wafting over the waves and coming towards them. As if the fear of the wind wasn’t enough, now a ghost was coming near. Panic consumed even the hardiest of men who had weathered many a storm on this sea.

A voice in the dark. Loud enough to rise about the howling of the wind, but at the same time mysteriously gentle and quiet. “Take Courage. I am here!” The actual Greek rendition states, “Don’t worry, the I AM is here.”

How often do we miss that? Especially during the storms of life. We hear the treacherous howling of the wind. Our minds replay every mistake we’ve made. The voices tell us this is all God’s way of getting even. The doubts rise mysteriously and whisper in our ears, “He’s not real you know. If he was he’d never let you go through this.” We live in the false conviction that we deserve this for our sins or we blame others or question God.

Jesus seldom calms the storm until we look to him. He saw the disciples struggling but waited until they looked to him. Even then he didn’t calm the storm until Peter took a dip in the cold lake water.

How often, during the storms of life do we miss the glow, the faint shadow of God’s working? How many times have we forgotten to attribute to Jesus the calming of our fears? Sometimes the things we endure are consequences of our own selfish decisions. Sometimes our pain is the result of malicious and evil acts of those hell-bent on our destruction. Sometimes we are devastated by the seemingly strange quirks of nature. But always, we are under the watchful eye of a loving God and passionate savior who is willing to come to us in the darkest night of our suffering and in the midst of the storm remind us to be brave because he is there.

PRAYER: Jesus, right now I’m going through a storm of sorts in my life. It seems like everything is falling apart around me. I sense the fear and hopelessness of the disciples as I try to battle the waves that want to overtake me. Help me to see you in all this. Calm the storm, but if you don’t choose to do that, calm my spirit so that I can trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Matthew 14:28

We as Christ-followers profess an undying allegiance to Jesus Christ. Many have been put to death for proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. But are we really ready to take the next step in complete faith in Christ?

The story of Peter walking on the water is much more than a Bible story about some guy trying to walk on water to Jesus. It’s a story of one man’s desperation to save himself. Peter wasn’t trying to show himself to be some bigger than life super hero. It wasn’t an attempt on his part to play the one-upsmanship game with the rest of the disciples. Fact of the matter is, Peter was scared!

Never mind the fact that Jesus had just fed over 5,000 men, women and children or that Peter had personally witnessed Jesus power over demons, sickness, hunger and death. That was then, this was now. A storm had come up as the disciples were trying to cross the lake. The boat was full of experienced fishermen, yet they were afraid.

That’s when Jesus showed up. Did Peter ‘know’ the ship was going down? We don’t know the answer to that. What we do know is that these men were tired from trying to row the boat against the wind and afraid. When Peter recognized that the mysterious form walking towards them was Jesus he was faced with a dilemma. In his heart he knew that Jesus was the safe haven he sought after, but was he willing to step out? The boat was going down, in Jesus there was safety, but it was getting to Jesus that would be tough. It meant getting out of a situation that was familiar, but doomed and stepping into the wave-filled sea.

Each of us is faced with decisions like Peter had. We are ‘comfortable’ in the situation we are in. Even if it’s a bad or dangerous situation it offers the comfort of familiarity. The question then is this. Do we stay or jump? Are we desperate enough for Jesus enough to get out of the boat? Are we willing to leave what we know and step into the waves of uncertainty and the unknown with only our view of Jesus as our guide?

Some malign Peter because he took his eyes off Jesus and turned his attention to the troubles that surrounded him. But give him credit. He got out of the boat. He was desperate enough to leave what he knew to get to Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’m in a situation that seems headed towards destruction. I’ve known you for a while but have come to realize that my knowledge hasn’t taken me to the next step of being desperate for you. I’m content with the familiar even though I know it’s not what is best for me. I want to step out of the boat Jesus. With you as my guide and your Spirit as my power I want to leave what I know and receive for myself what is unknown but so much better than what I have. I hear you calling me and from this point forward I choose to be desperate for you. In your name, Amen.

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September 2022
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