There is a three foot tall wooden cross that hangs outside on our front porch. It is hangs about 7 feet up the wall by a single nail. I special ordered it and shellacked it myself so it can be outside in the weather. The wind can really pick up here in Southern Arizona, and there was a wind storm just a couple days after I initially hung the cross outside.
The storm came in the evening. A sound came from the front porch like someone was banging wood against the house. The dogs went crazy and the kids were scared. I jumped up and opened the front door to find the wind had just started. I looked at the cross as it bumped lazily against the house, not hard enough to even make a mark. I shrugged the noise off and came inside. A few minutes later the noise started again. From inside the house hearing the noise it seemed the cross would fall and crash on the ground. I ran out to save it but when I looked it was again lazily bumping against the house, not hard enough to make a mark.
I decided I would go sit in the car and wait for the wind to blow to see for myself just how hard the wind was blowing the cross around and if it would fall. Did the noise against the house justify me actually moving the cross that was so proudly hung up? Was there really reason to be concerned?
In the Bible, Matthew’s Gospel tells how Jesus sent His closest followers, His Disciples on a boat across a lake while he stayed behind to pray in solitude. Jesus had just that day done great miracles so the disciples had great faith in Jesus and His Mission from God. But as they were heading to the other side of the lake during the night, the wind began to blow hard and the waves began to toss the boat around. Suddenly the disciples noticed something coming toward them on the water and at first thought it was a spirit, but heard the figure call out, “be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid”. It was Jesus!
Peter had an idea and he exclaimed, “Lord, if it be you, have me come unto you on the water!”. Jesus said, “Come!”. Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk to Jesus, being the second person in history to walk on water!.
But something in a split second caught his attention, the wind was still blowing and harder than ever! The waves were still kicking up. But Peter just realized where he was in relation to all this chaos and storm; Peter was out of the boat and walking on water!
His stomach must have sunk. At that moment as he took his eyes off Jesus and fixed his eyes on the storm, wind and waves, Peter immediately sunk under the water.
There have been times in my life I have taken my eyes off Jesus and I regret to say it. I have looked at the chaos, the storm, the wind and the waves. I have been distracted by what others are doing, not doing, what’s happening in politics, what’s happening in the church, what’s happening in the news, in the family and my own personal finances! I too have loosened my gaze from Jesus and stared straight into the storm, frozen in fear of what may happen.
Just when it seems the chaos was at its worst, Jesus showed up and I’m walking with him on water and then just like that, I looked at the storm and I fell under the waves as my fears all seemed to be coming true.
As I sat in the car waiting for the wind to blow, I saw the cross hanging on the porch lazily bumping against the house, not even hard enough to make a mark. Just then I called my wife on my cell phone and asked what noises she could hear in the house. She said it was the same loud noise; like banging against the house. She asked why I hadn’t already taken the cross down so it wouldn’t break.
I realized the noise of the cross lazily bumping against the house was some how amplified inside the house, making a noise that sounded much worse than what was actually happening. The banging sounded like the cross would fall to the ground and crash to pieces but in reality the wind was not able to blow into the area of the porch hard enough to move the cross more than a quarter of an inch.
Peter slipped under the waves and in an instant remembered his help, his Lord, his Savior was only a prayer away. As he rolled with the waves he cried out, “Lord, save me!”. and IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught Peter, picking him up on the water again and said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And they both stepped into the boat and the waves and wind ceased.
I too have been in anguish, distress, stress, depression and hopelessness, but I haven’t forgotten how to pray. In that moment of extreme distress and need, the Lord is waiting. He’s only a whisper away. I cried to the Lord and He heard my prayer, “Lord, save me”. The chaos doesn’t always stop immediately but He picks me up and holds me above the waves. My eyes are now fixed on Him.
We face a day with a 24 hour news cycle of politics and the next disaster, man-made or natural. There is always a salacious scandal available on social media in the church world or Hollywood. We face personal challenges including health and financial challenges, discouragement and loneliness. But we are only a whisper away from Jesus and His Saving power. We are only a prayer away from our help.
There are things around us that may hurt us; there is danger. The dangers of the coronavirus are yet unknown. There’s risk in living on planet earth. I don’t know how serious the reports in the news are, but they used to ask in Church, “whose report will you believe?” To which we proclaim, “we will believe the report of the Lord!”. I’m not proposing that we be reckless or that we don’t take sensible precautions.
There will be bumps in the night, there will be sickness, there will be disaster but we have a hope, a refuge, a sure friend, a Savior. We can trust Him. We can call on Him. He’s only a whisper away. He cares for us and wants to be part of our life, lead us through the storm, deliver us and shelter us.
I propose we bring our cares and worries to Jesus. I propose we whisper, say, or shout the prayer, “Lord, save me”. I propose we trust in the One that’s brought us this far, by faith. He will lift us up and keep our soul. He will keep our mind and our thoughts. He will re-affirm our faith and set us on dry ground. Have faith.