Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
After he had dismissed them,
he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
Later that night, he was there alone,
and the boat was already a considerable distance from land,
buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn 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 said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them:
‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
I call it a “Life Storm”. They come in a variety of forms. Some are physical – cancer. Some are mental – depression. Some are relational – divorce. Others are financial – bankruptcy.
The disciples were in such a storm.
They were “a considerable distance from land.” In a life storm solid ground disappears. Even if one had an anchor, it would be useless. “Save me, O God! The water is up to my neck; I am sinking in deep mud, and there is no solid ground; I am out in deep water, and the waves are about to drown me.” (Psalm 69:1-4)
“The boat was buffeted by the waves.” Buffeted: hit repeatedly, battered, clobbered, pummeled. These are the words that describe the “boat of life” when a Life Storm hits.
“Because the wind was against it.” In a Life Storm it feels like everything and everybody is against us. Of course, it’s irrational. Nonetheless, that’s what we think.
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.” It’s easy to believe that some of the disciples would be easily terrified. But, the fishermen … Peter, James, Andrew and John? Fear hits like a tsunami because everything seems out-of-control.
“It’s a ghost,’ they said …. In Life Storms the experiences of life become shadowy, dark, gloomy and murky. We can’t see “the forest for the trees!”
They “cried out in fear.” Life Storms shackle us behind bars of fear. We’re unable to escape; so we think.
In the midst of the storm Jesus came, uttering these words to the terrified disciples: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
“Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)