This storm you’re in right now … this mess, this stress, this uncertainty, this hardship … it’s causing you to see something. What are you seeing here?
Are you seeing all that is wrong? Are you seeing how unfair this is? Are you seeing the threats?
If you are, I bet you’re sinking, huh? You’re stressed. You’re confused. You’re overwhelmed. You’re scared.
But, my sister, if you look for something else, you will certainly find something else, and that something else will radically change how you go through this storm, as well as how you come out of it.
For the disciples, every storm they faced brought an encounter with Jesus. And the same is true for you and I. Our storms bring us to Jesus. I have to believe it’s why life is full of storms … God wants our lives full of Jesus.
And here’s what we must remember: In the middle of the storm, Jesus is doing amazing, miraculous, glorious things. If all you ever want is to get out of the storms of your life, you may just be missing what Jesus is doing in the middle of the storms. Right here, right now, today, in the face of all that is wrong, there is so much more that is so right. Jesus is working here. All you have to do is look for him.
One of my best friends is at home with her 50 year old husband who is on Hospice, likely living his final days of this life. They’re not fearful. They’re not overwhelmed. They’re not miserable. The storms are raging, but they have found peace, joy and immeasurable blessings going through it. Why? Their focus is on Jesus and all he is doing. It’s a choice each moment, and that choice has them walking in the miraculous provisions of Jesus.
For Peter, the storm brought an opportunity to step into the miraculous. It was an invitation to do the impossible. To walk on water. Yes, to stand on the waves that threatened. To rise above the storm and see that Jesus was always more powerful than the circumstances, and with him, he could be too.
Matthew 14: 24-33 “The disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
What was Jesus doing in the middle of the storm? He was walking on the waves. What’s he doing in the middle of your storm right now? No doubt, walking on the waves. The waves are the very thing that threaten you. It’s the lost job, the diagnosis, the failing marriage, the wayward child, the bad news. These are your waves. And Jesus walks on top of them.
What does he invite you to do? Walk on top of them too.
Not to be overwhelmed by them. Not to drown in the problems. Not to be consumed by dread, misery and sadness in this storm, but to rise above and walk on this.
Won’t you ask Jesus if you can walk on this with him? You’ve been asking if it will all just go away, but maybe instead what Jesus wants to show you is that the BIG Life he came to give you rises above these waves and proceeds even in the face of them. Maybe this isn’t about calming the storm, this is about you getting out of the boat with Jesus.
Why has our joy become so circumstantial? Why is our peace dependent upon calm seas and good weather? What, you can only be happy when everything is perfect? Dang, that must mean your happiness is saved for that 1 week of vacation, then it’s a huge disappointment when the family acts like jackwagons on that vacation and you still don’t get to be happy.
The problem is, we’re looking at the circumstances instead of Jesus! Here in these less than favorable circumstances that we just want to escape, Jesus is doing mind blowingly awesome things for us, and he’s inviting us to join him.
Imagine that moment, in the middle of the storm, when Jesus told Peter to come on out on the water with him, and in verse 29 it says, “So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” In that moment, he was perfectly fine in the storm. In that moment, he was walking on the waves that had threatened him in the boat. In that moment, he was focused on Jesus.
But, what happened when he looked at the storm instead? Verse 30 says, “he was terrified and began to sink.”
The only thing that had changed was what he was looking at. Looking at Jesus, he was walking on the waves. Looking at the storm, he was sinking in the waves. Jesus didn’t begin to sink, Peter did. Jesus was still doing miraculous, awesome things and the opportunity for Peter to join him was still there. However, when he looked at the storm, he was overcome.
My sister, what are you looking at today? If you will look at Jesus instead of all that is wrong, you will find he is doing something amazing right here and he’s inviting you to be part of it. But if you continue to dwell on the problem, you will continue to be terrified and you will get absolutely nowhere, as you sink in your problems.
Doing impossible things with Jesus requires two things: Keep your focus on him, and go in radical obedience.
Being overwhelmed in your problems and living in fear requires one thing: Focus on your storms.
We have a bad habit of thinking about, talking about, and posting about our storms. We have become habitual complainers and mega whiners. And so we sink. So we are scared. So we are stuck. So we are oblivious to the fact that Jesus is walking on top of all of this, and the invitation is there for us to do the same.
No, we don’t need the storm to go away, we need to throw our legs over the side of our boat and walk on the water to Jesus.
It’s time to get out of your comfort zone.
It’s time to focus on Jesus.
It’s time to stop complaining.
It’s time to harness your thoughts and make them obedient.
It’s time to get over your excuses.
It’s time to go afraid.
It’s time to overcome your waves.
Jesus is doing something absolutely marvelous for you, despite this storm. But if all you do is wish the storm away, and hunker down to just try and survive it, you will miss all he is doing for you and your opportunity to join him.
If the winds and the waves of your storm have stolen your attention, willfully turn your eyes back toward Jesus. Look for what he’s doing even while these things are going wrong. The simple act of looking at Jesus as you go through this will radically change your experience. He will bring you peace. He will show you joy. He will strengthen you. He will supernaturally guide you.
Yes, sometimes Jesus calms the storm, but sometimes he wants to calm his girl instead and invite her to walk on the waves with him.
Be aware of your focus today. Are you looking at your waves, or are you looking at the master of the waves? Are you looking at your problems, or are you looking at Jesus who is above your problems with a good plan for your life?
If you’re sinking, call out to Jesus, and he will immediately rescue you. Guaranteed. Every time. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed in this boat ride and been overwhelmed by the same storm. Call to him. Focus on him. Notice all he is doing even in this storm, and you will be strengthened to walk on these waves.
Jesus is more powerful than your circumstances. With your focus on him and your radical obedience to his call out of your boat, you can be more powerful than these circumstances too!