“And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28)
Yesterday, I visited Melbourne Beach and noticed two things that the other beaches do not have, parking meters and a lifeguard. A good time at the beach would cost 25 cents for every six minutes of fun in the sun. Yet, something was quite unusual. The swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers had area and distance boundaries set by the lifeguard. I imagine for safety reasons.
At 76 degrees, the clouds were a beautiful contrast against the blue sky. Yet, something was out of sync. The same cooling, gentle breeze I enjoyed had a different effect on the water. Within minutes of my arrival, the water became boisterous–choppy with large waves. The force was so strong that even those standing knee-deep were knocked down. All but two surfers left the water.
I can only imagine the defeat of those who dared to challenge the force of the water. Even so, after being knocked down a couple of times or realizing you’re fatigued from swimming against the current is when you give in and get out of the merciless ocean. Yes, enough is enough. Unfortunately, the battle of human versus nature is a losing battle.
Then I watched nature change her mood. The puffy clouds disappeared as an ombre [white, grey, and black] angry cloud blanket with lightning covered the sky. It was time to retreat to another area far from the ocean. Within a few minutes of leaving, the torrential downpour started and continued until three to five inches of water accumulated as evidence of the power of nature.
Although the lifeguard was on the beach, he gathered his things and left when the storm came. The storm reminded me of how quickly our lives can change from all-is-well to being bombarded with challenges beyond our ability to resolve them. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)
After the joyous time of Jesus teaching, healing the sick, and feeding the 5,000 plus people, the disciples never expected to face a raging storm. “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” (Matthew 14:24). Even the experienced fishermen among the disciples realized that a storm of this magnitude was a death sentence. Yet, this was a test of their [non-existent] faith. Were these the same men that just watched Jesus pray and multiply a boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish?
“And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear.'” (Matthew 14:26)
Jesus’ disciples, who just witnessed one of His greatest miracles, were tainted by the pagan belief of ghosts cried out in fear. Even with walking close to Him daily, they were distracted by having their own agenda, the desire for Jesus to become King. But Jesus, the Lifeguard of their lives and our lives, gave comfort and hope during a raging storm.
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.'” (Matthew 14:27)
We can never anticipate or prepare ourselves mentally or emotionally for future hardships. When we feel as if we will drown in life’s stormy trials and sorrows, we have a loving, merciful Lifeguard who walks on the water. Jesus always responds to the SOS [Save Our Souls] cry for help. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Do not be afraid. Jesus is telling us to “Come.” He will save us. Go Ahead! Walk on the Water!
Prayer: God, please help us to believe in Your Omnipotence. We pray for an increase in faith. As we call on You for deliverance, open our spiritual eyes and give us strength that we can respond to Your call, telling us to come. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.