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Home arrow Articles arrow Stormy Weather
Stormy Weather

A few months into the “New Year” and it feels like the year is already very “Old.”  Excitement at possible fresh beginnings has petered out into the old status quo.  New Year resolutions for change have probably been caught up in the quagmire of reality.  And its back to the grind again—the year moves resolutely, irrevocably forward and whether we like it or not, we’re on for the ride.  I think it was Helen Reddy who sang a song in the late seventies (which dates me!) that said: “Stop the world and let me off, I’m tired of going round and round,” a song that probably many of you who read this missive can identify with.

Well, are there words of hope?  Words of encouragement?  Promises of change to come?  After all, you don’t expect to visit a Church website and be reminded of the state of your life!  You know that already.  What you’re probably looking for is a light at the end of the tunnel; a lighthouse beam that shines into the stormy winds of your life, or a rubber buoy that helps you ride the waves until help comes.  At this point you’re probably saying: “OK, preacher, stop preaching! Give me something, anything that will keep me moving along this highway called ‘life’ with a certain degree of confidence, or hopefully, ‘well-being’.”   Well, you asked for it—here it is.

I remember a story involving Peter.  Matthew writes about it in the fifteenth chapter of his book.  Peter and the rest of the disciples are in the boat when they are overcome by a storm.  Battling the storm, trying to save themselves they suddenly see the figure of Jesus walking to them on the water.  And it freaks them out (pardon my colloquialism).  Now you have to understand their mindset to get the full import of this action of Jesus. For the Greeks, the symbol of impossibility was a pair of legs on a fragment of the ocean!  That was what the Greeks thought could never happen.  Surprise!  Here comes Jesus breaking that etched-in-stone idea.  And the stage is set for Peter.  “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus responds with one word: “Come!”  Peter is out of the boat in a flash and wonder of wonders, is walking, yes walking to Jesus on the water!  Tell me what that means to a fisherman.  His life revolves around the sea.  His activities are governed by the vagaries of the ocean.  And his well-being depends on his knowing when he should be out sailing and when he should be in mending nets.  And now he walks on water.  Feet moving on turbulent waves as if they were a sheet of glass.  Fiercely foaming, yet amazingly stable.  Euphoria, would you say?  You bet!  I wonder if Peter beat his chest and let out one long triumphant shout—the primal sound of victory.

Hold that frame will you?  Can you imagine that?  Was that how you felt crossing over into the New Year?  That the Saviour had beckoned and invited you to cross over into the New Year in His strength and with His assurance of continued presence?  And yet, that’s not the way you feel today.  The waves are back.  The storm is real and your circumstances are almost overwhelming.  The job scene hasn’t changed.  Your colleagues still think you are one of the steps up the success ladder and your boss still takes the credit for all the work you put in.  Your professors haven’t changed either.  New Year did nothing for them, and they’re as mean as ever, and the euphoria of new beginnings and changed situations have given way to a sinking feeling.  Being swallowed up in the very waves you thought you could ride.  And you can almost taste the salt as the waters tend to overwhelm you.

Peter was there.  Knew how that felt.  That sinking feeling reminding him that once again the elements were establishing their supremacy.  And he did what I am suggesting you also do.  He cried out for all he was worth: “Lord, save me!”  Save me from losing it.  Save me from a defeatist attitude.  Save me from broken dreams and the consequences of momentary bravado.  Lord walk with me through troubled waters.  Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me on.  And guess what?  That’s exactly what He did.  “Immediately,” O how I love that word.  “Immediately” the Bible says: “Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him…” and walked him to the boat and safety.  Do you long for that safety?  Do you also want to be pulled out of engulfing waves?  Then maybe you too need to call out to Him, to save you, to take you to solid ground and safety.  And all you need to do is echo Peter’s desperate call: “Lord, save me,” and I believe immediately He will reach out and provide the solidity you need at this very point in your life.  Can you handle that?  Are you ready to call out in faith to the One who can help?  My prayer is that you will, and in so doing experience the strength of the Master as He leads you through troubled waters.

A postscript.  A word to the wise.  The Bible tells us that Peter fell because he saw the waves.  When he took his gaze off the Master and focused on the circumstances, those very same circumstances overwhelmed him.  Maybe a lesson in that for us: to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Rock—a shelter in the time of storm.



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