When All You Can Shout Is, “Help!”

3:00am.  The dark water was as black as the sky. Waves pitched the small fishing vessel up and down, back and forth.  The men tied down the canvas, secured everything that moved, and held on tight.  That’s when they saw it.  The ghost!  Only it wasn’t a ghost.  It was Jesus!  It was like he was floating in the black of night; but no, he wasn’t floating!  He was walking on water!

The frightened fishermen argued among themselves as to whether or not it was really Jesus.  Finally, Peter calls out, “If it’s you, call me to you!”  Peter obviously hadn’t thought through the possible outcome of that challenge because the recognizable voice of Jesus indeed  bid him to come.  What?  The others were watching open mouthed.  What would Peter do?

He gritted his teeth, wiped the lashing water out of his eyes, and slung his feet over the boat.  Just look at Jesus, he told himself.  He felt something solid beneath his feet, but it wasn’t solid at all; it was all water and Peter was walking on it.  One step.  Two steps.  Gusts of wind hit him full body.  Sprays of hard water stung his face.  In fear he looked away from Jesus, concentrating more on the raging storm around him.  That’s the moment it happened.  The solid feel beneath his feet fell away and water sucked him down, down, down!

Did Peter flap about?  Did he try to swim?  We don’t exactly know.  What we are certain of is who Peter called for help.  “Lord, save me!”  Those three words were all that he had time to shout.  What did Jesus do?  Did he stand there in annoyance watching Peter drown in fear?  No, he did what He always does when any of us calls out to Him for help. He reached out, took hold of Peter, and together they got back in the boat.

Are you fearful about anything in your life?  Are you worried about the outcome of some situation?  Are the winds of life beating you down into despair?  Then do the only necessary thing.  Call out to Jesus for help.  There is no doubt that He will come.  He will come offering His own strength, and taking hold of you, He will put you back in the boat, guiding you to the shore.

The above story is told in Matthew 14.

“Call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and might things that you do not yet know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

 

What Do I Do About It?

I have shared before, what I call, the wisdom of Lucy.  Lucy Shockney is a dear friend whom I met in France where she and her family were missionaries for many years.  God has blessed Lucy with terrific insights into everyday life.  Recently she shared another nugget of gold.  She was talking about the difficulties in life that come to us all.  No one is exempt from hard times.  Lucy writes:  “If the question that plagues you is ‘why,’ knowing why doesn’t solve the problem.  The real question is, ‘what do I do about it?”‘  That’s the one that solves the problem, that refuses to submit to circumstances.  The ‘whys’ are a distraction.  The ‘what am I going to do about it?’ is the road map to greatness.”  I find her thoughts simple and yet profound.

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of doubt, depression, and anxiety.  To ask why is easy and even understandable.  We want answers to our melancholy.  We want it to go away, so we ask why?  However, as Lucy pointed out, to merely mull over the why question will do nothing but distract us from the road to our liberation.  Indeed, it is in asking ourselves, what are we going to do about it, that the path to freedom from our despondency will be revealed.

So, what, exactly, can we do about it?  Two answers come to me.  The first has been a favorite of mine from the time I became a Christian.  It’s found in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not yet know.”  Isn’t the truth of that verse amazing?  The promise is: just by calling to Father, He will answer, and He will reveal truth to us that will aid us in our troubles.  It’s not a maybe or possibly so; it’s an “I will.”  Anytime God says “I will,” it is well worth our time to meditate upon that truth and follow it through.

The second thought that comes to me in regard to, what can we do about it, is found in Matthew 7:7.  Jesus was talking with His followers, encouraging them how to live successfully in this troubled world.  He said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”  I have listened with sadness to some Christians who have misunderstood this verse.  Some actually believe that God is being somewhat cruel, insisting that “keep on asking” means, if we ask enough times, He will answer.  Oh, my!  That interpretation is so incorrect. What would enough times be?  Five?  One hundred?  It’s absurd to consider that Jesus would be so callous to the things that hurt us.  That’s not how love works; therefore, that’s not how Jesus works.

So, what is He saying?  He’s telling us that every time we find ourselves in some situation of despair, then ask, seek, and knock.  He says to keep on doing this with every trial that comes our way.  With every new feeling of sadness or with every new burden that weighs us down, we must seek Him and His help.  We must so diligently ask, seek, and knock that it becomes a habit in our lives.

As Lucy reminded us, when we quit focusing on the ‘why’ and focus instead on ‘what can I do about it,’ then we put ourselves in the way of deliverance from all that drains our joy.  So, when troubles come, and they will, what can we do about it?  Call to Father.  Ask His help.  Seek His comfort.  Knock on the door of His guidance, and He will show you great and mighty things that you never even dreamed about.  It’s a promise.