Those who have lost loved ones were right when they told me that emotions would ambush me like a wave.
One minute, I can feel joy. A minute later, I’m hit by a wave of intense sadness.
On January 13th, I wrote in my journal, “I feel like waves were crashing down on me. Trying to stand and endure every emotional wave is brutal.
It feels like I keep getting knocked off my feet and submerged under the water, struggling to get air into my lungs.”
As I wrote, God brought the scene of Peter in the boat to mind.
Opening my Bible to Matthew, I began reading the familiar story in chapter 14.
Walking on the Water
22 Immediately, he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowds.
23 After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.
The phrase, well into the night, stood out to me. The disciples were alone on the water all night. I am sure they were wondering what Jesus was doing, knowing that they were out there.
24 Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them.
Why did he send them out so far?
How would he get to them?
I was feeling the same kind of wondering, like being alone at sea, battered by waves, and everything was against me.
25 Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea very early in the morning.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and they cried out in fear.
27 Immediately, Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
The disciples endured the entire night on the sea, discouraged, and I bet they were wondering why they couldn’t have stayed on land a little longer.
I think they were so wrapped up in their fear and possibly filled with anger or resentment at being put in this predicament that when Jesus did come, they didn’t even recognize him.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.”
29 He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.
Still not believing, even after hearing his voice, they give Jesus a stipulation, a requirement to gain their trust.
I hear my voice in Peter’s.
“Lord, IF it’s you, give ME a supernatural ability.”
Before Annie’s passing, I’ve always read this story as regarding my faith. For God to work in me, I must take that first step toward him and trust that He will give me the strength.
30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Reading verse 30, I began to see even more similarities with Peter.
My grief makes me feel like I’m sinking, too. Though I have never experienced a literal drowning, I’ve read that the person who is drowning is in no position to fight his way back up to the surface.
Many days, I’m too tired to fight my way back up, and I also cry out to the Lord for strength.
Then, verse 31 opened up a different part of the story that I have read many times but overlooked.
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
In response to Peter’s cry for help, Jesus doesn’t just speak the words and have Peter return to the boat dry and warm.
Jesus immediately and intimately rescues Peter, reaching out his hand and grabbing Peter’s hand.
Jesus chooses to touch him! Grab him! Hold him!
Immediately, I felt the hand of God reaching down to me, touching, grabbing, and holding me!
Instead of seeing Peter’s lack of faith and doubt, I saw a God who never took His eyes off Peter.
It was Peter who took his eyes off Jesus and only saw the overwhelming nature of his circumstances.
If you’ve been reading my writing, you know I have never understood why people say, “Hang in there.”
It may seem like we are hanging on at times, but hanging means that we are trying to hold on with our strength, which will inevitably end, and we will let go and fall.
It also implies that we look down and around at all the circumstances that weaken and terrify us.
Hanging in there is taking our eyes off the God who is intimately reaching out his hand and HOLDING us in there.
There will always be days on this earth when disappointment, fear, and grief seem like waves that are too high and hard to endure. Don’t take your eyes off God during those times, but if you do and begin to sink, remember you have never left His sight! Your life is being “held in there.”
He chooses to reach out to touch us, grab us, and hold us!
Through the prayers others say over me and send me, texts, cards, and visits from friends, I can feel His hands holding me.
You’re also being held!
Please click reply or comment below to let me know what waves you are experiencing so I can pray for you!