When troubles or trials come, it doesn’t drizzle it just seems to be pouring from everywhere doesn’t it? For a few months now I have been crushed from every angle – but thank God not defeated! Every promise that I had from God seems to be going the opposite direction, hopes being shattered, basic needs (health, housing, hunger) in competition with each other… Things haven’t gotten any better and my pillow has been wet much. Thankfully God stores all the tears in a bottle! I keep hearing HIS words,
“LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING”.
The storms make me think of a light house (this featured image is a superb illustration in itself – I got it in the internet, caption Light in a Storm by Jack E Dawson). How it stands strong radiating the light and showing the way despite the raging waters splashing against it, the howling winds threatening to suffocate it, the mighty thunder with its shattering volumes and the blinding lightning with its piercing sharpness coming at it!
That then takes me to Peter… the Biblical character who was driven by his emotions, to whom Jesus gave the name meaning rock despite Jesus Himself being THE Rock… to whom Jesus first entrusted the commission to take care of HIS sheep, to feed them. Perhaps John was the one Jesus loved the most, but obviously Peter… well … he was special!!
The disciples in the boat saw Jesus on the water during the fourth watch of night – the darkest hour before dawn and hence they were terrified thinking it was a GHOST! Even when Jesus came to them, “the boat was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves as the wind was against them”. Note all the obstacles and the oppositions there!!
Yet Jesus came to them, to meet them where they were.
He crossed these obstacles, dominating over creation walking on water against the waves and the wind. His love for us is simply divine!
Peter was carried away by His emotions as usual and momentarily forgot the scenario he was in.
…… But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? ……..” – Matthew 14:22-33
Peter momentarily forgot the situation as his eyes were fixed on Jesus. Peter, merely a man, did indeed walk on water! He was a conqueror in Christ for those moments. Yet suddenly he shifted his gaze and saw the wind (which he had known about all along but forgotten in his focus on Jesus). Fear struck him and he began to sink. Jesus’ response,
“WHY DID YOU DOUBT”?
We have different storms in our lives. Sometimes it’s the storms of nature that presses in and puts us through a trial. Some of the storms are external pressures. However a number of our storms if we are honest with ourselves are our own creations – SELF IMPOSED. What am I talking about? Well, often we put a deadline according to our timetables and plans and dreams or even according to the external pressures too. However, more often than not God’s timetable is way different to ours. He doesn’t promise us to operate or function in our time table or our bosses deadlines or our landlords timelines but in HIS time. We get panicky and create a storm according to the other factors and our gaze is at the faces of where the pressures are coming from and at our fleshly nature saying you have gotta have it NOW else this and else that…. Isn’t it true for you as well? We begin to doubt when we don’t get our way!
For example a single female has planned in her heart by what age she will graduate, how many years of career experience, by what age she will get married and by what age she will have kids… Often it doesn’t happen that way. Some will cover up saying God but push and get their own way done and of course with that comes sorrows as not in His perfect plan or timing.
Other storms we create can be ‘distractions’. A classic example is Jesus’ response to what Martha was doing. Her distractions were to serve Jesus but Jesus rebuked her. Often our distractions can be wanting things perfectly and methodically and to keep up with the Jones’. Whatever it is, whether ministry or relational, if it isn’t what God is wanting us to do, then it’s a storm that creates sin.
God asks us to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Being still doesn’t necessarily mean throwing everything out of the window and staying put like a yogi in the wilderness. It means to calm our thoughts in the raging storms, to take our gaze off the storms and what needs to be done and by when, but to gaze on Jesus and hear from HIM. To hear His perfect plan and perfect timing so that we don’t rush ahead of Him nor do we procrastinate and disobey (sin) either. When we can be still and know that we aren’t all that great that we have to get it done, we will see God’s hand intervene in such a beautiful astonishing manner that we know exceeds our capacities such that His name will be glorified. There will be a season of the wind, the waves, the thunder, the lightning as God wants us to learn to LEAN ON HIM, to see the rainbows in the midst of the darkness, to see the bright powerful light spiritually despite what our earthly eyes comprehends.
LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
The first thing we do is we see the storms that are the complete opposite scenarios to His promises.. and we begin to analyse and analyse from every angle, from every science, from every theory possible. Trust me, that’s me – I’m the analytical one by nature. Yet, God rebukes me and tells me what He has promised He has promised. We often miss out on gazing at Him and soaking in His love and walking in miracles because we are busy focusing on the storms, using our mind in the natural to analyse and come up with fear and DOUBT!
FAITH – being able to take heart in Jesus in the darkest hour of our stormy nights
while clinging onto HIS promises overcoming doubt!