I remember as a kid I was terrified of storms. Early in the afternoons during the summer, I watched the horizon for potential storms. The continual scanning of clouds, looking for thunderheads, caused me great fear and anxiety during many afternoons. If I would have looked at the sun, then maybe I would have enjoyed the day.
In Matthew 14:28-32, the disciples were in a boat during the night rowing across the sea. Suddenly, they see an unrecognizable figure, who is Jesus, approaching them and they are afraid. As Jesus walks towards them, he identifies himself and says not to fear. Peter, while looking at Jesus, says, “if it is you, Jesus, tell me to come!” And Jesus replies, “Come, Peter!”
Immediately, with his eyes on Jesus, Peter steps out of the boat and walks on water toward him. Can you imagine that miraculous sight? Suddenly, Peter changes his focus and looks at the winds around him and is frightened. Just as quickly as he walked on water, he sinks into the sea. Jesus immediately saves Peter from the water and asks him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
How do we walk on water through the storms of life instead of sinking in the waves? We must ask ourselves what are we looking at, the storm or Jesus? Focusing on the storm and its potential effects causes waves of fear and anxiety. The longer we stare at the storm, the greater the waves become in our mind, and the greater anxiety. But looking at Jesus, gives us hope to walk on water.
Remember, Jesus wants a relationship with us. He loves us and and invites us to walk on water instead of drown in waves of anxiety. He encourages us to bring our storms to him and trust him to lead us through the storm. It does require us to trust him and to take our mind off of our storm and instead, think of Jesus and who he is. Praise and worship is a powerful way to change our thought process and welcome his presence into our storms. We remember who he is: lord of lords, creator, refuge and so much more, and lift our voices in praise and adoration. As we praise him out loud, we hear and remember how great he is, and our faith and trust in him will increase. Instead of living in the anxiety of the storm, we can rest in the peace of his presence.
Certainly as the storm rages, it is challenging to continue looking at Jesus. It is a retraining of our minds from continually focusing on the storm to looking towards Jesus, and it takes practice. So each day of the storm, moment by moment, bring your storm to him, give it to him trusting him to lead you through, and no matter how windy, keep looking at him and praising him for who he is. And by all means, praise him for helping you to walk on water through the storm. So go ahead, the winds are blowing, with your eyes fixed on Jesus get out of the boat and walk on water!