Readings: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33.
In Matthew 14 we’re told of a story where Jesus walked on water even though the weather was bad, and Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk on the water too, which Jesus did. Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, faith strong, ready to take this on. But then he looked around and he saw how bad the weather was, and he started to allow the storm to take over and therefore he began to sink. The Voice translation says in verses 30-31:
“But when he remembered how strong the wind was, his courage caught in his throat and he began to sink.
Peter: Master, save me!
Immediately Jesus reached for Peter and caught him.
Jesus: O you of little faith. Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between follow me and heeding fear?”
Just over ten months ago, I received a phone call while at church that changed my life forever. My ex-husband and I had been having major marital problems including unfaithfulness, and I had been praying for God to rescue me. I was at the stage where I knew divorce was imminent but I was putting it off because I felt like it wasn’t a good time (is there ever a good time to get divorced?). I’d already given my marriage to God and told him that I would follow him even if it cost me my husband, and it did.
I grabbed the two children that I had brought to church with me and rushed home, where the police were waiting for a social services worker to arrive, who took all of my children into custody even though I clearly had not been present when the event that caused this situation happened. My ex was taken to jail, and I found myself alone, very alone. I was in the middle of the storm, and it was so dark, and so rocky that I wasn’t sure if I could survive. I couldn’t see anything but the darkness, and the sea ready to swallow me up forever. I couldn’t hear anything except that wretched thunder, and the only light was the occasional lightning bolt. The wind whipped fierce around me, and I was afraid.
Like Peter, I “danced back and forth between following Jesus, and heeding fear,” although more often than not I heeded fear. But, when the storm was at its strongest and I was at my weakest, Jesus did for me what he did for Peter: he reached out to me, and caught me.
I’d like to say that I no longer waver between faith and fear now that things are a little calmer. My divorce is final, I have my children back, and I’m starting to live a new normal. But the truth is that I still waver between faith and fear, and all too often I still chose fear.