Encountering Christ in our life’s storms

Encountering ChristThis week Christ invites us to join Him in walking on waters. Is it really possible? Do I believe that He can ask me to do such a thing?

The disciples find themselves in a frightening situation: they have obeyed Jesus’ command to leave the place where they were, to get into a boat and precede Him on the other side. To do the Will of God does not mean that our rides will be smooth or that we will not encounter storms on the way, storms that always seem to come at night. To say Yes to God means to know that He is with us, even in the storm; this allows us to live our lives even more deeply because we know that everything is allowed by our loving Father. We become aware that even in the darkest night there is “someone else” with us. How often and how easy it is to forget this and to live as though we are all alone on our little boat.

Fear, it is said, always tricks us. It makes us see things and people in a different way, it makes us act and speak differently as well. It changes our perception and it’s easy to confuse people for ghosts. Our neighbor doesn’t look like our neighbor anymore and we fight him or her as though they we have seen a ghost. But it’s always Jesus who, like a new dawn, brings to us a new day. Although He may not appear as clearly as in the day, it is always Jesus.

Where was Him? As the disciples left for the sea He went on a mountain. to pray. The disciples and Jesus are in opposite places: sea and mountains. One, the sea, is the place where the chaotic and evil spirits who oppose our journey dwell; the other is the place where God speaks to us, not in the rumbles of the sea storm but in the gentleness of the breeze. Sometimes it seems as though Jesus is in the opposite place of where we live, in a place where He is too far to come and help us out. But space and time are in His hands and nothing can separate Him from us.

The boat is buffeted by the wind. Interestingly, the word to describe the effect of the wind on the boat is also used to translate the english word: to torture. In the Gospel of Matthew is used in two other places: in reference to paralysis and to demonic possession. Like that boat, we also are buffeted and tortured by the winds of our lives storms.

I look at that boat. Back then, the floor of the boat was flat and not curved as today’s boats. They were really surfing the surface of the sea. It was easy to lose stability, even the smallest of waves and the gentlest of winds would have quite an effect on that boat. I think about my life: it seems that the storms of life have a more devastating effect on those aspects of my life that seem to be the most “flat” and not curved and shaped by the Will of God. I want to welcome, therefore, the Word of God that shapes me from within. The more I allow God to shape me, the safer my journey through the rough waves.

Jesus comes into our storms and calls us to peace. He invites us to share with His authority over chaos. As Peter did, we also are called to walk on water and move towards Him. Peter focused on his fear that became self-fulfilling prophecies: nobody can walk on water and therefore neither can I. He sank. How many times we sabotage our own faith by believing more what seems to be normal rather than putting our faith in the supernatural that comes from Jesus’ invitation to “come” to Him? Yet, even in these situations, when our faith becomes inadequate, He is there to pick us up.

But, as our boat reaches the shore, we find ourselves totally transformed: He has changed us and empowered us to be like Him.

If we want to start walking the supernatural walk… our walk on water, and encounter Christ in our lives’ storms, we ought to get out of the boat.

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