I shared this in in our first meeting together as a Residence Life Staff today at PHFS. I hope that it resonates with whoever heard me this morning and whoever might read this as much as it did with me.
From Matthew 14:22-33 — Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
"Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Even though I had heard this story many many times in my life, a few things stuck out to me today.
In the midst of the winds, Jesus identifies Himself and says, “hey, It’s me, chill out!” Many times we are very anxious in the midst of change. But sometimes it is Jesus that is heading the change.. and when we fail to see this, He has to let us know that it isn't some random ghost -- but that it is Him. The one at the center of the winds of change,
Peter said, “OK, Jesus, if it’s really you, ask me to come to you. Ask me to do the impossible and walk on water. Peter was up for the challenge. He was ready for the unknown. He wanted to see God do cool stuff and so he asked him to call him to do something amazing. It wasn't even Jesus' idea. How many of us have sung the song "Oceans" asking God to call us deeper? Do we really mean it? If so we might be up for a real adventure.
Jesus did what Peter asked.. He invited Peter to do the impossible. Jesus is always looking for folks who are up for the challenge of living life as a great adventure. When we ask Him to take us deeper, He does.
Peter did it. He took those first few steps. He kept his eyes on Jesus and it worked. He was doing the impossible.
Until he took his eyes of of Jesus and the mission that He had called him to. When he did that, he sunk.
It is my goal to be like Peter and for others to join me in that adventure. How do we do that?
We recognize Jesus in the winds of change.
We ask Jesus to call us into those scary waters.
We take those steps of faith…. but as the winds of change blow around us, we are going to keep our eyes on Jesu s and on the mission He is calling us to. If we keep our eyes on Him, we can continue to walk in the miraculous path where God does cool things.
I quoted the song Way Beyond Me today, which I have already put in my blog. And then, for those feeling a little bit stressed by the idea of jumping onto the water, I quoted a much older song.
Be Still My Soul Kathrina von Schlegel; Translator: Jane L. Borthwick (1855)
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
2 Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.