I was asked to write for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader’s From the Pulpit column this week. I wrote much of it two months ago, and finished it last night. I pray you might find a blessing:
Do you ever feel like you are going under? Like it is hard to “keep your head above water?”
Peter had that kind of an experience in the Bible in Matthew 14:22-33. After feeding the 5,000 the Disciples headed out in a boat while Jesus went to pray. When they saw Jesus walking on the water in the middle of the night, Peter bravely said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.
Wow! You might think if he could walk on water, he could do just about anything. The only problem was that he took his eyes off of Jesus and instead focused on the problems around him. As a fisherman he knew how dangerous the waves could be. He had probably seen others die in similar situations. The wind and the waves were blustering around him and the seeming impossibility of his faith overcoming those problems suddenly caused him to go under.
In those seconds did Peter think, “I’m going to die!” “How could I have been so stupid?” Or, as we do in our most difficult situations turn to God in prayer, “Lord save me!?”
That prayer was soon answered. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). The words of Jesus speak to our hearts just as well today: “Take heart… Do not be afraid” (14:27).
If you feel as though you’re sinking today, it may be because you are looking at the waves of failing health, finances, or relationships. Or maybe you’ve been listening to the howling wind of the culture. But you don’t have to go under. Like Peter, when you call out, Jesus will reach out His hand to you, as He did for Peter.
Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a refuge and strength in time of trouble. We might not always understand God’s ways, but we can trust that He is in charge.
As you keep your eyes on the One who can keep your faith strong, you’ll find yourself on the surface and walking by faith, even when the storms rage around you.
Rev. Dr. Dave Ullom
Wild Flower Presbyterian Church