How to Walk on Water in a Storm
We learn fear.
Life teaches it to us blow by blow.
Sometimes by a trauma, sometimes by the slow drip of disappointment corroding courage, usurping hope. We tried. And failed. We got bitten. And bled. We got knocked down. And lived there.
We learn fear.
I have learned fear.
When a semi-trailer truck side-swiped my tiny two door vehicle. When my son woke breathless with an asthma attack in the night. When my husband was held up at gunpoint in the dark. When a gun shot rang out near our house and he wasn’t home yet. When I woke in the night to an intruder bending back the security grill of my children’s window. When the charity we worked for fell apart and we couldn’t see a future path on which to place our feet. When hope corroded day after day, blow after blow. When all I could hear was my drumming heart and all I could feel was the whir in the pit of my stomach. I have learned fear. And I have lived it.
It can paralyse a soul this fear. It can literally take our breath away, this feeling out of control, out of our depth, out of the boat and under the waves. It can leave us breathless. Drowning.
Our faith can be strong and free, until that faith gets shaken. Until everything we thought was true gets undermined. Until we sink beneath the waves; of fear.
It’s not the boogie-man under the bed that most of us fear now. It’s the repetition of the incidents that undid us. The circumstance that scarred us, leaving us flinching, conditioned to expect the pain and assume the hit.
“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.” Mark 6:45-46
“When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.
A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.” John 6:16-18
This walk, this journey, this long road to the cross following this Christ with His wild ideas and even wilder love for the lost, it leads our feet along the strangest paths. Israel had wandered for forty years traipsing after this God, sometimes on a path through mountains, sometimes on a path through wilderness and sometimes on a path through the sea.
These disciples, they’d seen God’s sovereignty over the seas before, He’d calmed the waves that night, not that long ago (Mark 4:35-41).
But this night, where was He? Not there. Not in the boat with them. They were alone. They thought. And the the wind whipped wild and the waves once more began to thrash and pound, like a recurring nightmare, a repeating terror. A replay of the storm that Jesus calmed. Without hope in the boat with them.
“By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.
A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.’’ John 6: 17-18
“ …and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” Matthew 14:24