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What Are You Looking At?

Have you ever been paralyzed with worry? Yes, yes, yes, I know we're told in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry. But let's be human for a minute. Sometimes we feel so surrounded by a situation that it begins to suffocate us. You may have even gotten to a full-blown panic attack! There have been many nights when I woke up thinking about a situation with one of my daughters or about bills and finances, and I couldn't get back to sleep. So I'd lie there thinking about it more, and before I knew it, my heart was racing and I was hot all over and my mind went to every worst case scenario.

Then the other day I was listening to the song "Oceans" by Hillsong United, and it got me thinking about the night that Peter asked Jesus to call him out onto the water. (Matthew 14:22-33) The wind was buffeting the waves against the little boat as the disciples made their way alone across the dark lake. It was the fourth watch of the night, which we know was from 3am-6am, so the sky was still blanketing them in its darkness. Looking out across the tumultuous water they saw what could only be described as a human figure.

Between the black sky, the whipping wind, the breaking waves, and the seeming impossibility that someone could actually be walking across the water, their minds went to the worst case scenario that they were being approached by some sort of phantom.

Then Peter heard the voice of Jesus calling out, and he leaped at the chance to prove his faith and walk on that water towards His Lord. "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'" (vs. 30 NIV)

Here is what Jesus did NOT do. He didn't calm the wind. He didn't smooth out the rough waves. But He DID immediately bridge the distance between Himself and Peter, reach out His hand and lift Peter up. In fact, it wasn't until after they both climbed into the boat that the wind and waves finally died down. (vs. 32)

We so often do exactly what Peter did. We fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith," (Hebrews 12:2 NASB) and then expect that the trials will not reach us, the bad things won't happen, the waves won't even touch us. And when they do, we focus instead on the pressure of the storm and not the power of the Savior.

Oh, we of little faith.

Close to 15 years ago I suffered a miscarriage. It was one of the hardest things that I have endured so far in my life. My best friend and I had been pregnant at the same time with our first babies, and the girls were born only 11 weeks apart. Now once again we were both pregnant, and these babies were due only 8 weeks apart.

But things started happening in my pregnancy that weren't right. Our doctor immediately called me in for an appointment, but he failed to find a heartbeat. After a few more days of waiting and hoping, we knew for sure that the baby was gone.

My body didn't dispel everything naturally like it was supposed to, so I had to go in for surgery. What a different hospital visit this was. The last time I had returned from a hospital it had been with a baby girl in my arms. This time, my arms were empty.

I was genuinely happy for my best friend to continue with a successful pregnancy, but I will admit, those were some of the most painful months I've ever endured. Yet it was also a time when I felt Jesus very near to me, reaching out to lift me up. I remember telling Ryan, "I don't know how anyone could ever go through this without the Lord."

So if you are going through a storm right now; financial hardship, loss of a loved one, failed relationship or life frustrations, remember that Jesus never promised us that we would not have trials. In fact, He told us "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV) He may not always calm the storm. But He will be there to get you through it.

#fear #Jesus #hope #encouragement #disappointment

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