Jer 30:1-2,12-15,18-22/Ps 102
Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
We are but men of little faith
Who cannot see what life’s about;
Release us from this troubled state,
Lord, take away our fears and doubt.
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After dismissing them, He went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was already a great distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they cried out in fear. Jesus at once told them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” He said. Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” And when they boarded the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14: 22-33)
“If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” An opportunity comes when we are asked to step out of our comfort zone to brave the winds and waves of the unknown. Simon Peter wanted to be the first to seize this opportunity of sharing in the Lord’s power to walk on water. However, just a sudden gust of wind was enough to topple his faith and make him sink. Jesus’ words: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” tells of His desire for us to be steadfast in our faith in Him in the midst of life’s trials and adversities. Peter had the courage at first when his eyes were focused on his Master. But when the waves and the wind distracted him, he began to sink.
The boat in the story can be likened to a family (or community). Without our Lord Jesus on board, it can be tossed and turned by the waves of discordant relationships, or financial reverses, the winds of change (new job, or loss of one), or the troubled waters of pride, envy, loss of respect, or even infidelity. A couple in our brotherhood once shared about their turbulent past before they joined the renewal, and decided to invite Jesus Christ once again into their marriage after completing the Brotherhood’s Christian Marriage Retreat. They said that for the first time in their union, Jesus’ presence in their “love boat” had finally brought their marriage to calm, peaceful waters.
Storms in our lives can also come in the form of harassments from the devil, who tries to subvert God’s will in our lives. St. Paul said, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12) Sometimes we can get so immersed in material concerns that we forget our spiritual nature. Satan’s grand scheme is to get us too focused on our problems and anxieties that we no longer have time to pray. He knows that prayer is the most effective weapon against fear. It gives us the assurance that we have the strength to overcome anything through Jesus Who empowers us (Phil.4:13). Prayer works for those who firmly believe and submit to God’s will. Submitting to His will means trusting that whatever comes is according to His love and divine purpose. The situation only becomes difficult when doubts arise to erode our faith and trust in Jesus. As long as we hold fast to a strong trust in the Lord, no harm can befall us; the storm will eventually pass; and when we reach calm waters, we will realize that we have become stronger because of it.
Lord God, grant us Your grace if we have to take that leap of faith out of the boat into a new area of ministry. Otherwise, we may miss out on seeing Your miraculous hand at work in our life. Help us to realize that You are always present to extend a helping hand, so that we may find the courage to step out of the boat into the unknown. Amen.
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