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Growing from our storm

Like many people, I have had to weather many storms in my life and failed to survive them over and over again. I failed in my marriage, I failed in my parenting, I failed myself, and I failed the calling that God had for me in my life. It was not until I was able to stop looking at my circumstances (my storm) that I was able to look up at Christ. Once I came to Jesus Christ, I had the guidance and power to fix my circumstances through His grace. My wife and I were able to fix our marriage and are now best friends. My children went from never wanting me near them because of the severity of my PTSD to wanting more time in the day to be with me. I went from feeling like a failure in life to understanding who I was in Christ. I went from being a medically separated Marine to a minister of God’s Word. It was not until I focused on Christ instead of myself that I was able to feel the transformation in my life.

This very lesson is taught to us in the book of Matthew. In chapter 14, verses 22-36 we see Jesus walking up to the disciple’s boat during a raging storm. At first, the disciples believed Jesus was a ghost and even Peter asked for reassurance. Peter even took it a step further and told Jesus if He wanted him to walk on water he would be able to if it was truly Him. What Peter was saying is that he was willing to take a leap of faith “if” Jesus was really who He said He was. How many times in our lives have we hesitated on doing something waiting for a sign by the Holy Spirit and when we got it, we ask for another sign to make sure it was really the Holy Ghost? I am just as guilty of this as the next person. Like Peter, we just want to make sure that whatever venture or leap of faith that we are going to do will be successful. However, when we do this we are doubting that Jesus is who He says He is.

However, after Jesus was asked this from Peter, He simply told Peter to “come.” Peter’s initial response to Jesus’ invitation was full of faith as he stepped out of that boat. This is a very significant thing in biblical history because only two people ever walked on water. These two people were Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter (through the power of Jesus Christ). This was a big deal and a giant leap of faith for anyone, even a disciple of the Son of God. Everything was going great and Peter was full of excitement knowing that Jesus was who He said He was. The reverence Peter must have felt for Jesus when he took his first steps truly humbles me. It reminds me of when I first heard Jesus call me to come to Him. When I took my first step towards Him, my failures disappeared and I could see His love in my life. Like Peter, many of us first started our journey with Christ with a giant leap of faith and when we did we were not disappointed.

Then life happened, and Peter’s faith was challenged when he received opposition (the wind). Peter called to Jesus out of fear and Jesus instantly grabbed his hand which saved him from drowning. Then everyone worshiped Jesus on the boat and glorified His name. They went from being scared to praising Him after Jesus saved one of their own. When the people experienced what Jesus did for Peter, their faith in Jesus grew. They knew if Jesus would work in their life a fraction in the way Jesus worked in Peter’s life they would be blessed abundantly. The disciples learned an important lesson that day. Nothing can be accomplished without Christ’s grace and power in their life. This lesson is just as true now as it was then. Any wiggle room in this mentality will cause us to sink into the ocean of this fallen world. However, we are blessed to have the confidence that whenever we call out to Jesus, regardless of our circumstances, He is willing and ready to save us from ourselves. Through His power, we can weather any storm.

You see, Jesus promised us special support (the Holy Spirit) for our spiritual pursuits and for our encouragement. How else could we come to Jesus unless we are guided by His own power? Christ told Peter to come to Him for two simple reasons. The first reason was to show Peter his own weakness. Peter needed to know his shortcomings to understand the significance of the power and grace that can only come through the Son of God. The second reason why Jesus had Peter walk on water was to show the power we all can have when we focus on Him, and Him alone. You see, God often gives us the choice to be humble and prove ourselves to Himself. These tests come in the form of hardships and persecutions. They allow us to show the world the greatness of His power and grace over our lives. It gives us a testimony to share with others after we get through the storm.

Whenever we stray away from Christ in anything, our oppositions only get greater and we will fail and we will sink. Our marriages, our parenting, our work, and our relationships with others start to fail. However, when we start to sink in the oceans that we have created for ourselves, Jesus is always faithful to reach out His hand to those who call His name with humility and reverence. Regardless of our condition, He will come. When this happens, we need to be like the disciples on the boat and be humbled by Jesus’ power and mercy in our life. We need to worship and praise His name and only then can others come to know Him. They will see the work that Christ did in us. This is how the Gospel is spread. It is not spread by fancy preaching but by others watching the transformation in our life. They will hunger and thirst for the love and grace that we have shown them through our experiences with Jesus Christ. So, if there is anyone reading this that has lost their focus and is weathering their own personal storm, please remember the power that comes from simply focusing on Jesus instead of focusing on our circumstances. When we can do this, we can grow from any struggle and this will allow us to continue walking out in faith.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to have your Son as our savior. Thank you for allowing Jesus to reach His hand into our lives and full us from the darkness that we face on a daily basis. If it was not for His compassion, mercy, and grace in our lives we would be sinking in our own despair. Father, thank you for the cross and the nails that hold our sins away from us which allows for the guidance of your Holy Spirit in our life. We stand in reverence of all the times you have done what you said you would do in our lives. I pray for continued opportunities to understand my weakness so I can replace it with the strengths of your son. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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