Like many of you, I have been keeping track of Hurricane Matthew, praying for the residents of Florida as they batten down the hatches to face the storm’s wrath. It’s always interesting to me to note that in the middle of every hurricane, there is the center of the storm where everything is calm and peaceful. The mighty winds, often full of destruction, circle around the eye of the storm.
Do you remember the story of Jesus walking on the water? It’s recorded in Matthew 14 and also in Mark and John. Can you imagine the scene? The disciples, the men who Jesus was investing time in, teaching and showing them great lessons on earth that would help them through all their days, were in the boat. Most of these men were fishermen. Their fathers had been fishermen. They grew up knowing the water and the weather. Therefore, because of their knowledge, we know that the storm that swept upon them had to be potentially deadly, because they were frantic.
Imagine them on deck. Waves are washing over the bow. Wild water is spraying in their faces. The wind is lashing against their efforts to pull in the sails. The roar of the storm complicates their efforts to hear each other call out instructions. They are soaked and cold and scared; this storm is a bad one.
In the midst of their desperate attempts to save the boat and their lives, something unimaginable happens. Look! Someone must have called out. What’s that? They peer across the darkness of the water. The lightening cracks and a flash of light reveals something that takes their breath away. Each of them grabs hold of something to steady them against the force of wind. It’s, it’s…Jesus! NO! It’s a ghost! Poor men. There they are fighting with diminishing hopes to get back to shore, when another fear overcomes them. Of all things to deal with, they don’t need a ghost! Suddenly, they hear something they recognize. “Don’t be afraid! Take courage; I am here.” Can it be? Is it really Jesus? Did He just do the impossible, walking on water to get to them in the storm?
Yes, they would find out for certain in the moments to follow, that it was indeed Jesus. Can you imagine the wonder and the thrill that must have come over them? Jesus was a master teacher and what a visual aid He used to capture their attention. They would never forget that incident.
The good news for all of us is that Jesus still walks through the storms of our lives to come to us. Remember the times in life when perhaps you were in a difficult situation and you saw no way out? Have you ever felt like you were failing in all areas of your life, so tired of hoping you could get a grip on things, only to fail in your own eyes time and time again? Do storms of grief take hold of all your senses when your relationships rock with turmoil? Does fear of job loss or financial uncertainty sweep over you like a hurricane churning up the water? Does poor health take its toll on peace, ripping away courage like destructive winds exploding onto unsuspecting shores?
Never forget, just as every hurricane has a peaceful eye in its core, Jesus is always in our midst, too. He still walks on water into our storm-filled lives, calling out to us, “Don’t be afraid! Take courage; I am here!” Storms only persist in our personal worlds when we try to battle the winds of discontent in our own strength. No matter your personal pain, strain your ears to hear because His voice is always there, His love is ever present, His hope and courage never cease as He calls out to you, “Don’t be afraid! I am here!”