Listen: Hillsong United: "Ocean: (Where Feet May Fall)" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iilc92XVd00
Our lives are intertwined with the oceans. Life began and emerged from the waters. Oceans cover 70 percent of the world's land mass -- approximately 65 percent of the human body is water. The world's ecosystem is dependent of the oceans -- our world-wide weather patterns are connected to ocean currents. The depths of the oceans are still a mystery to us. For all water represents: life, mystery, sustenance, danger: It is not surprising Jesus spend a great deal of his ministry in Galilee around the sea. He traveled by boat, called fishermen as disciples, fed people the fish that came from the sea. He also faced our fears and dangers on the sea.
The sea's location below the mountains and below sea level made it very susceptible to storms. In one particular storm that Matthew tells, the disciples see Jesus walking toward them on the water. At this point, Jesus hasn't stopped the storm. He comes to them in the midst of the storm. Peter tests Jesus, and Jesus calls Peter out of the boat. Peter started to go to Jesus -- but once he took his focus off of Jesus to the strong winds, he began to sink. Immediately Jesus caught him -- and chided his faith.
Our lives are like the oceans. We have our own internal "weather patterns," our highs and lows. We have times when we are susceptible to the storms of life. We too have amazing depths we haven't explored -- a great deal of our motivations, drives, hopes and dreams are hidden in our unconscious, which influences us, nourishes us, but can also catch us off-guard. In these instances, we feel swamped by the waters of life. We can feel like we are drowning and we are barely keeping our head above the water.
The gospel lessons teach us that Jesus is not only master of the elements of creation, but Lord over all the internal, raging storms that threaten to overwhelm us. Jesus walks to us above the frightening waves and gales. He calls us to rise above the turmoil. If we keep our attention on Jesus we can keep our head above the sea. It is when we become frightened by the strength of the winds, and fear overwhelms us, we sink. Even then, when we cry out, "Jesus, save me!" he immediately grabs us and brings us to safety.
We know the power of storms: the storms of nature and the storms of life. What storms are you facing? Problems at work or a lack of work? Family? An addiction? A depression or illness? In your prayer, the gospels teach us to envision Jesus, above it all, in it all, coming to you. We are not left alone to face the terrors of the night (Ps. 91:5). Let us "fix our eyes on Jesus" (Heb. 12:2), who walks with us above the tumults of our lives. It doesn't necessary mean our storms will leave us right away. With the Lord, we can hold fast to the words of the prophet Isaiah (43:2):
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you."
Pray: "Jesus, save me from the waters of life that threaten to overwhelm me. Teach me to walk above the storm, with you at my side. "