I wrote here once that in many times, I dreaded praying. It would take all my emotion and energy – and I would feel completely naked, exposed, before God. How can I hide anything from Him? How can I hide my hidden fear, my deepest sorrow that I try very hard to hide – even from myself from a great God?
I remember whenever I grew too weary and started to be edgy about anything, my Mom used to say, “Even the raging ocean is ruled by God…” She referred my perturbed emotion as the raging ocean.
So this morning, as I again waken up too early, I dragged myself, lit my candles, kneeled down and open my Bible. I opened my songbook and was somehow brought to this song, my favorite song back in two years ago when silence was my company and sorrow was my best friend…
Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last… Be still my soul, because the waves and winds that you fear most still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below – and still, they’re ruled by Him alone.
Just before I started reading, I’ve prayed earnestly, knowing that somehow my stubborn self-reliance had always hindered me from coming to God. I cried, ‘Dear God, please speak to me, because my memory is short, and my faith is so little.’ – I forget about God so easily, I didn’t trust Him enough to believe that everything will be just fine, done wonderfully according to His will.
Today’s reading was from Matthew 14:
24but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I was quite surprised finding that today’s text shared the same subject with my thoughts.
I imagined what the situation was like – seeing someone appeared in the middle of the sea, walking on the water. Well, even if it happened these days in this modern age, I think I would be frightened too. Can u imagine it happened back in 33 AD?
When Jesus revealed Himself and told the disciples not to worry, Peter must have thought, “Wow, that’s a cool trick, man. I wanna do it too!” And somehow I thought his reaction was a bit childlike when he said, “Lord, I want to try to do it too.” He was undoubtedly the most enthusiastic person among all the disciples. Maybe the other still haven’t got rid of their astonishments, Peter had jumped and said, “Hey, me want too! Me want too!”
Do you remember the day when you were young and saw an adult doing something cool and you said you want to do it too?
Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and realized, He was God! Only God rules the raging sea – and effortlessly walking on it. And this enthusiastic man, simply thought, ‘If He can do it, I know I will be able to do it too! And I want to do it!’
It’s very comforting looking on how Jesus answered Peter: He said, “Come.” (verse 29). Oh mine, He wasn’t even annoyed or displeased by Peter’s request. He simply (I believe He was smiling when He said that) smiled and said reassuringly, “Come.” And Peter came!
For a moment he set his eyes on Jesus, and nothing could beat him. He knew that Jesus was God, and this raging sea was nothing before him. Nothing. No big deal. So he set his feet on the water. But the moment he remembered about his being, somehow he could feel the wind and he realized – he was doing something impossible! I believe even today, no man without any equipment could walk on water – on raging ocean water to be exact. So it was a wonder, it was a big thing; it was magical that Peter has done it, and suddenly he realized, ‘Oh dear, this is too big for me. Really too big for me.’ And went he sunk.
And aren’t we like Peter most of the times? When we saw the great art of God’s hand, we thought, ‘God, I want to do it too! I want to serve You, do the best things for you, great things for You!’ When we saw God’s work in other’s life and in our life and realized how great and how much God loves us, we was moved by His greatness and said, ‘I want to go, too God. Here I am, send me!’ And gently He answered, ‘Come.’
But when the moment we shift our eyes from Jesus, we realize that the things we’ve asked from Him were too big, too complicated, too hard, too difficult, and too impossible for us. We realize who we are – pathetic scrawny man and woman trying to be the hero to save the whole world on our own.
Verse 31: Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Did you see that Jesus ‘immediately reached out his hand and took hold of Peter’? We were the one with big wishes, we were the one who were jumpy on our feet and begged to go, and when we were afraid, He didn’t stand there and merely said, ‘O you of little faith, let yourself be drowned!’ But He immediately reached out our hands and saved us.
‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt (Me)?’ That’s Jesus question to Peter. And to me. Why did you doubt Me? The hymn I sang this morning said, ‘Your hope, your confidence let’s nothing shake, because the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.’
I’m looking at the target and deadlines and I feel very small and hopeless. I’m looking at the amount of works God had shown me to do and I feel like breaking down in any seconds. I’ve woken up this morning and felt very fragile – me, my works, my choirs, my cell group, my personal struggles – I’m definitely on my way of drowning here. But when I stopped and listen, I heard the soft voice in the morning ask me, “Why don’t you come to me?” I hardened my heart and whispered, “I’m tired, God.” And He said again, “I know, so why don’t you come to me?”
So I came, and will learn to always come, and look upon Christ and say, “God, my memory is short – I might forget easily what You’ve promised me, and I’m of a little faith – so I don’t trust You enough as God who’s greater than anything in this world. So please speak to me, so I might hear Your Words and be calm. As You rule over the raging ocean and make them still, please be my Lord and still my heart.”
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
(Hymn: Be Still, My Soul, by Catharina von Schlegel)