I was sitting at the table during naptime on Monday and doing my personal Bible study, and it was super, crazy windy out – it started the night before, and was almost shoving our car off the mountain on our way home. It was whipping the trees around, and was whistling through the breezeway outside our apartment so loudly and strongly that it was literally playing music through the bars on the railing – cool, but super loud! (…and not conducive to sleeping babies, but, let’s be honest, what is?!)
I had to laugh to myself as I started my reading – I have been working through Matthew, and was it a coincidence then that in my reading on Monday, I read the story of how Jesus walked on water in Matthew 14? I’ll give you the answer – no! There are no coincidences!
The story goes a little like this – Jesus is praying and resting on shore, his guys go out in the boat, a big storm comes and they start freaking out. Jesus walks across the water to get to them and Peter asks that if it is Jesus, tell him to walk on the water towards Him. Well, it was Jesus so He says, ok, Peter, come on out! Peter looked at Jesus and stepped out of the boat onto the water and began to walk – so crazy! Can you imagine the faces of his friends?! BUT then the Bible says that he “saw that the wind was boisterous” and he began to sink as the enormity of his situation dawned on him.
Since I could very clearly hear our own “boisterous wind” howling outside while I was reading this story, I started to feel like it had a special meaning for me that day.
In terms of my life and how I deal with things, I definitely try to start out with my eyes on Jesus, but then what? What is my boisterous wind? What is it in my life that is loud, clamoring, destructive, swirling around me, forceful, distracting? What am I in the midst of that is tearing my gaze away from Jesus and causing me to sink?
Life. Life is my boisterous wind. Finances and bills and trying to make the numbers add up and maybe pay for college and/or retirement one day. Being exhausted from trying to lovingly handle toddlers going through tantrums, and yet dreaming of having more kids. Pondering our housing situation and my husband’s job and being annoyed at how closely those two things are linked. Making time for expressing creativity and wondering if its all for nothing in the end. Dreams and goals doing battle with insecurities and realities. Balancing fitness and healthy relationships to food and exercise and rest, yet pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try more and do more and get the most from life.
We are so quick to look at Peter and say, “Dude, Jesus was RIGHT in front of you!! How could you lose faith?” But the reality of it is, as believers, Jesus is living IN us, the Holy Spirit is guiding us, we see evidence of God at work all around us, and yet we still focus on that dang boisterous wind and lose faith all the time!
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:6
For the first part of this year, I have been thinking about the mathematical sign “>”. It popped into my head one day during my devotions and for about 2 weeks I just started writing it everywhere as a reminder. To me it means, Greater is HE…than whatever could possibly be on the right side of that little equation, to whatever the boisterous wind may be at the moment.
God > me; God > world; Holy Spirit > my human nature; Faith > fear.
I wrote it on my dominant hand so that when I wrote, I remembered that greater are His words than mine. I saw it when I would eat, and remembered that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and that I can control myself because greater is He than me. I remembered it when I was changing endless diapers and fixing meals that go uneaten and doing never-ending laundry – greater is His gift and His joy and His purpose than what I am feeling in the moment.
I wrote it to remember that greater is He than everything else, and so greater must my faith be than my fear, my struggles and my “wind” of the moment.
In “Lord, Change my Attitude” Pastor James MacDonald says that “faith is believing the word of God and acting on it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result.”
Faith carries us through, not based on emotion, but based on knowledge that we have a good father God who sees it all, wants us to know Him intimately, and wants good things for us when we show that we love, trust and submit to him. Yes, it is a choice to have faith, and sometimes it takes a minute by minute recommitment, a minute by minute decision to believe that God is greater, that the wind can’t touch you.
Do you have faith that can focus in the midst of boisterous winds? Remember that greater is He, focus on the Father, and He will keep you walking tall on top of the waves that threatened to sink you.