As Hurricane Florence, one of the largest hurricanes to hit the Carolina coast, inches closer to Charlotte, NC, it is obvious there will be record rains and catastrophic flooding in certain parts of the Carolinas. Big storms always remind me of Matthew 14:22-33:
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””
A ‘storm’ can refer to more than just a natural disaster. We often fear the difficult experiences of life: the death of a loved one, a frightening medical condition, financial hardships, and natural disasters, all of which can leave us feeling alone, scared, helpless, desperate, and out-of-control. The disciples did not even recognize Jesus when he approached them in the boat. They were so blinded by fear that they believed Jesus was a ghost. While most of the disciples stayed in the boat, Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the water in faith. Yet, when Peter turned his eyes from Jesus onto the scene around him, he became afraid of the wind and the waves. He began to sink and cried out to Jesus for help.
It is reassuring that even when we do not see God….even when we are blinded by fear, Jesus comes to us during the storms of life. No matter where you are in the storm….whether scrambling to keep your boat from taking on too much water, frozen and trembling in fear, boldly walking on the water in faith, or desperately reaching for help, God is there. We may not always see Jesus in the storm but He is there….in the hands of rescue personnel, doctors and nurses, and caring neighbors and friends. And it is in the difficult experiences of life….when we turn our eyes to God….where we learn the greatest lessons of faith.
Please pray for all those who have been and will be affected by Hurricane Florence.