Having grown up near the ocean in Southern California, I am well acquainted with waves. In my youth I body surfed but never mastered riding on a board on the waves. I have a great deal of respect for the power of the ocean’s waves; I have a cousin who has been with Jesus many years due to drowning in a surfing accident.
In spite of that loss or maybe because of it, one of my favorite stories in Scripture is of Peter walking on the water. It’s not just smooth like glass water. It was a storm with wind and waves; tossing the boat around like a cork. This photo is of a very calm nearly surfless shoreline, not at all what Peter encountered . Of course we marvel at the feat of walking on any water, but I believe part of what we have to learn from Peter’s miraculous walk has to do with the conditions of the storm.
Our lives have difficult circumstances. Jesus told us that: “in the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We will experience loss of many kinds, difficulties and hardships that can literally overwhelm us. But look at Peter. For the moments he was focused on his Lord he was above his circumstances. Miraculously. In spite of the storm.
Oswald Chambers wrote: ” we step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus.”
I can so relate to this because of some of the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths of both of my parents, just 9 months apart. Thankfully in my grieving, I didn’t hear a rebuke from Jesus but rather a patient waiting for me to stop looking only at the circumstances and to turn to Him. It has been a sorrowful, painful journey, but one I would not change because of the closeness I have experienced with my Lord.
Chambers went on to say:” Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.”
Dear sisters and brothers, whatever you are in the middle of right now, Jesus sees and is waiting for you to look to Him. The storm didn’t change when Peter had his eyes on Christ, but Peter was above the storm. In the same way our take away from this story can be that in the middle of our storm Jesus will enable us through His strength to rise above our circumstances to have His joy as we encounter our various trials.