What do Golgotha, Mt. of Olives, Dead Sea, Mt. Sinai, Galilee, Nazareth, Bet Shean and Petra, Jordan all have in common? No hints. Give up? Ok, I’ll tell you. They’re a few of the places I experienced on my trip to Israel, Jordan and Egypt!
Shalom, my friends! I want to give another shout out to all of the amazing people I met last year on Lon Solomon’s Holy Land Tour. Especially to my awesome roomie for the trip, Liz!
What an honor to be a part of this group. Learning history. Visualizing the events of 2,000+ years ago. Walking where Jesus walked. Praying where He prayed. Sitting next to where the cross stood. Taking communion outside the empty tomb. Climbing Mt. Sinai and looking back across the desert where the Israelites wandered for 40 years. I was overcome by the gravity of events that unfolded thousands of years ago.
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing blogs inspired in the Holy Land.
Today I think back to a brisk sunny day as we floated in an old fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. We read the story of Jesus from Matthew 14. Jesus had miraculously turned five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed over 5,000 people. His disciples then got into a fishing boat and headed out on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus went up the mountain to pray. Late in the night, as the wind and waves buffeted the boat, Jesus walked across the sea to rejoin his disciples.
The men in the boat were terrified.
The storm and the ghostly figure walking toward them on the water were too much for them to handle. These burly men cried out like little kids. But Jesus calmed their fears and reassured them by saying, “Don’t be afraid! It’s Me! There’s nothing to fear.”
Why did Jesus tell them not to fear? Because He was there. He was in control of the storm, the waves, their boat. Their circumstances.
Then Peter, being the impulsive fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy that he was, said, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” With heart racing Peter climbed over the side of the boat and fixed his eyes on Jesus. He took one step, and then another, and walked on the water towards the Lord. But the wind swirled and waves splashed up his legs. He looked around and fear overtook him again.
Peter began to sink like a bag of rocks and he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
We know the end of the story. Jesus reached out, pulled Peter up, and put him back in the boat. But Jesus also said something to Peter that He may be saying to us too, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Are we like Peter? When the winds of real life swirl around us and waves of turmoil prove we’re not standing on solid ground, do we take our eyes off Jesus? Do we get swallowed up by our circumstances and panic as we cry out for help?
It was natural for Peter to be gripped by fear. If it weren’t for Jesus he couldn’t walk on water. Neither can we. But when we follow Jesus and He says, “Come,” we can take courage and know that there is no reason to be afraid. He is in control. With Him all things are possible. Our circumstances are a storm that will never overtake us and never pull us down if we trust Jesus and don’t doubt His power or His undying love for us.
The most common phrase in the Bible is “Don’t be afraid.” God wants us to know that when we walk with Him, there’s nothing to fear. So take courage in every life storm. Jesus is here!
“But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ He said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’” Matthew 14:27 (NLT)
May I pray?
Jesus, I’m humbled by Your love and faithfulness. You want us to know You. You want us to trust You. You want us to keep our eyes fixed on You so we won’t sink in our circumstances and our life storms. Lord, please save us! Help us to turn to You. Help us to reach out to grab Your hand so You can pull us up on solid ground. May we stand courageously knowing that with You, all things are possible. Amen.
Q4U: What was a time when you felt like you were sinking in your circumstances?
I have a tendency to fear the unknown, which causes me to feel like I am sinking in my circumstances rather than relying on the One who is in ultimate control of what happens. I go through a lot of what ifs – what if I lose my job? what if my 19 year old walks away from the church and possibly his Christian lfe? What if we don’t have enough money to pay our medical debts? What if my husband ever decides to leave me? Etc… While all of these things are possiilities, there is nothing I can do by constantly worrying about them. I need to keep my eyes focused on God and not the circumstances. I need to be willing to give them completely over to Him knowing that He will be there to walk me through whatever may happen in the future, just as He was there to help Peter walk on water.
Very, very wise. It’s not easy to set aside fear and uncertainties, but if we can go step by step and learn to trust God along the way, we’ll be amazed when one day we look back and see how far we’ve come.