I did everything I could to keep David’s surprise party a secret, and it looked like I was going to pull it off. We enjoyed a birthday dinner with friends and were coming back to the house for dessert. Sweat beaded on my upper lip and my heart pounded hard against my chest as we drove down the street. Did they remember to turn the porch light off? Did everyone park on the next block? Can they remain quiet until David is in the house? Is he really clueless, or just pretending? Too many questions and no answers.
I held back, letting David enter the dark house first. As he strode into the kitchen, he heard a whisper, then a shuffle, and in the split second before our guests flipped on the lights and yelled, “SURPRISE!” he felt the icy grip of fear clutch his heart. He didn’t expect anyone to be in his house, but he knew with absolute certainty someone was.
I think this is why Peter and the other disciples were afraid when they saw Christ walking toward them on the water. They’d been struggling with a contrary wind, sheets of rain, and tumultuous surf. No matter how hard they strained, they couldn’t gain control of their vessel. Peering out through the inky blackness and straining for a glimpse of the shore, the last thing they expected to see was a man striding purposefully toward them on the waves.
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified” (Mat. 14:26).
They were familiar with the Jesus who preached beautiful sermons on the mountainside. They’d heard him open the scroll in the temple. They’d even watched him lay hands on small children and bless them. But they never expected him to show up in the middle of the storm.
I’m a lot like the disciples. I expect to see Jesus in church or in orderly ladies’ Bible studies. I assume he’ll appear at Vacation Bible School, or when I’m visiting someone in the hospital. I know he’ll show up at organized prayer meetings, or church socials.
But I forget that storms are his specialty.
I’m surprised when he shows up in the messiness of grief or the heartbreak of disappointment. I’m startled to feel his gentle arms around me as I wrestle with doubt and betrayal. I’m caught off guard when his kind voice whispers truth into my heart that is struggling to believe and have faith. Somehow I think these places are outside the realm of God.
Because I forget that he’s the master of the storms.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid,” he speaks into the fierce waves and profound darkness.
“Lord, save me!” Peter cries, and I cry, too.
Indeed. Why do we doubt, when even the wind and the waves obey him?
“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.’” (Mat. 14:32-33).
Do you feel as though your storm is off limits to God? That the night is too dark and the waves too high?
May Peter’s cry become our cry-- “Lord, save me.” “Take courage,” he says to us, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
And I realize that I’d rather be in the boat in the midst of the storm with Jesus, than safe on the shore without him.
May you find Jesus in the midst of your storm today.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like "When God Is Late."
Mardel.com is has a back to school special -- 25% off! Click HERE to order.
With a devotional for every week of the school year, JITJ has application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for your own devotional reading or for use by a support group for meeting ideas.
Don't start your new year without it!
For more information and to read what other homeschooling moms are saying about Joy in the Journey, click here.
To order a paperback copy, click here.