This account of scripture, which took place soon after the feeding of the 5000, is one which got me excited as I went through it over and over again. I saw a complete world in the boat and the many thousands of things that happen around it, which signify the very life and circumstances we live in today. It is amazing how scripture written very long ago gives us meaning for life today. This is an amazing gift we have from God.
Jesus sends the disciples away on the boat, while he retreats to spend time in prayer and it gives me a picture of a car being refueled in preparation for a journey ahead. On the other hand, the disciples at sea encounter a challenge. The peaceful or just normal trip on the water turned into a nightmare and brought all sorts of fears among the disciples. Life is precious and they were all worried and afraid at the thought that this life could so easily be ended in the storm. The passage says it was a violent one, and I imagine what I would have done or how I would have behaved if I was in that boat.
Life presents us with so many such scenarios that fill us with fear. Fear from what only we know within us; fear from external circumstances and forces around us. Has crying out helped, or has it only made those close by focus on saving their own lives and left you feeling helpless and sure that death was just centimeters away.
And then they see him, who represents life and their only hope in the situation. Oh the joy I feel when the right person appears at the right time, just when I was a few rands short of taxi fare; just after being robbed of all my cash and documents; just when I had given up hope and could no longer find meaning in life; just as I was thinking of throwing in the towel; just when I have been rejected by those I love and I think there is no use in trying anymore. At that crucial moment, a big hope springs up before me and I am both excited and still afraid, because – what if it is not him, what if it is not the answer I am hoping will end my plight. If we face day to day events truthfully, we understand that so many thoughts like this go through our minds and the minds of those we live and interact with.
Jesus’ invitation is a call even in our times and circumstances, to a place where he can hold our hand in comfort, reassurance, bringing us peace, still in that situation and when we have dared to trust him, we begin to do what he does and ‘walk on water too’. This is the bold step we need to take in full view of others around us, who are still in doubt and fear of the ‘death’ that lies ahead. This is the strength we can demonstrate so that others too can feel the courage to stand up and express love and warmth in the situations they would have otherwise chosen to keep their distance from. I admire Peter, because today I can see how I can remove fear from those around me who are still afraid in their situation, and are still in doubt. Then peace and quiet follows as the storm is silenced.
Many storms and uncertainties can be silenced by the way we act. How much of the challenge have we taken from the Lord and been willing to stand up and model to others what can change the world?
May our hearts through God’s grace be strengthened to stand up in situations that threaten the very life of other people as well as our own.
To think about: Where do you need to “stand up and step out boldly”?