In the famous story about Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), Jesus goes alone to a mountain to pray, after he’s already worked a full day and fed 5,000 people. Meanwhile, the disciples are at sea, in a boat battered by waves. During fourth watch, (between 3:00–6:00 AM), Jesus walks upon the sea toward them. At first, they’re terrified, fearing that he’s a ghost.
To reassure them, Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
And Peter answers, “Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus replies, “Come forth, Peter.”
So Peter leaves the boat and walks upon the sea toward Jesus. But then, when he feels a strong wind, he’s distracted. He begins to sink and calls to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately, Jesus extends his hand, catches Peter, and says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Sometimes, we’re like Peter, not fully grounded in our faith. When we feel buffeted by life’s strong winds, we sometimes wake in the wee, small hours of the morning, worrying about difficulties and troubles. Sometimes, our challenges are like hobgoblins that we imagine will haunt us forever.
Yet, as a master of spiritual maturity, fully grounded in faith, Jesus reminds us: We can learn to walk upon the waves of life when we remain buoyed by the infinite well of faith within us. We’re also reminded: No matter what may be occurring in our lives, we can go to the “mountaintop,” to reconnect with God in prayer, meditation, contemplation, and reflection.
From that perspective, we can choose whether we’ll let life’s challenges sink us, or whether we’ll choose to do the personal, spiritual work which is needed to rise above them. These challenges include:
- Unresolved grief
- Unresolved conflicts
- Unhealthy relationships
- Physical ailments
- Misdirected compassion
- Financial concerns
- Excessive activity, anger, clutter, overload
- Addictive behaviors
When our faith is misdirected, we sink. Sometimes, we drown, spiritually. Yet, when we choose to lift ourselves up in faith, rather than sink into depths of doubt, fear and worry, we begin to meet life as it is. We realize that we have greater strength than we imagined to overcome difficulties. On the way, we also discover that we’re growing in spiritual maturity and walking with ease upon our own sea of life.
© 2017 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.