Chapel 12/3: I am with you

The strong howling winds are shaking the boat to and fro. He’s desperately trying to row his way back to shore, but the waves are nine feet high now and his number one priority is to get the massive amounts of sea water out of the boat before it sinks, taking him and his friends down with it. The skies are dark as pitch, and it’s impossible to know exactly how long he’s been at this, all he knows is that his efforts don’t seem to make a difference. In fact, he knows he’s going farther and farther into the unknown. Into the abyss. Into danger and darkness and chaos.

It takes everything inside of him not to breakdown here, but he has no choice but to keep working. He’s moving on adrenaline, out of necessity. After hours of rowing and panic, he doesn’t have any of his own strength or energy left.

It’s inevitable. In a few short minutes, all hope will be lost.

Suddenly, there’s a shadow in the distance. Something is coming toward him, walking on top of the water. It must be an apparition. He does a double take. It can’t possibly be! He screams and backs away from the terrifying specter, not knowing what else to do.

The shadow moves closer, climbing the waves as it approached the boat. Everyone else is just as fearful as he is and their screams cut through the darkness and are heard even over the roaring wind and crashing waves. It looks… familiar… as it approaches.

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Yes, it’s a man, one he knows well. But a man couldn’t walk on the waves.

“Don’t be afraid, It is I,” says the man.

Peter recognizes his mentor. “If it’s really you, call me to come to you,” he appealed.

He took a hesitant step out onto the rocky water, knowing his mentor would be with him. Despite his better judgement, he begins to fear. The waves are so high and the wind is overbearing.  He is losing his balance! He feels himself begin to sink into the darkness. Agony. He is flooded with terror and he can’t think straight. “Save me!” He cries out to Jesus.

Jesus reaches out his hand to save Peter, “You of little faith. Why do you doubt me?

Sometimes we all find ourselves in a position of fear. For us, the darkness of the sea may actually be pain, depression, or loneliness. We all have our own ‘abyss’ to fear.

In today’s chapel, Tony Opliger shared, “Faith is believing that the God of the universe is with us and that he is mighty to save, cares deeply for us, and in the end, no matter how it looks or feels, he will save us.”

Sometimes in the midst of our fears and struggles, we can forget how powerful God is, and how he has promised to be with us always. We begin to doubt. Like Peter in the story of Jesus walking on the water, we have to put our faith in God and know that he will save us, no matter how bad it seems to us at the time. 

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