In The Atlantic Community
Welcome! Last Thanksgiving I encouraged you to write a thank-you note to God. I challenge you to do the same thing this year. Maybe you can start by remembering the most beautiful sunset of the year. Thank God for allowing you to see it. Then just keep going from there.
This has been a significant year for me. I think I will remember 2016 as part two of 2014. 2015 was sort of a lull in the storm I plunged into in 2014. This two-part storm has been a season of deep spiritual growth.
I have noticed that periods of heartache strengthen my relationship with God. During the storm of 2014 I took solitary walks on dirt roads and sang hymns of praise to God in an effort to draw nearer to Him. This was a time when obeying God brought me pain. During this period I realized relying on God and submitting to His will sometimes hurts.
I had a brief respite in 2015; then the storm, as if it’d been held back by shrink film, ripped through and knocked me on my back. It caught me totally off guard. I reeled from the impact for days. Ultimately I decided that the only way I was going to survive this storm was by trusting in God. It seems like the obvious answer, but it’s not a soothing answer. It doesn’t make everything better. At least not yet.
Trusting God with all my heart is a daily choice; a struggle; a task I can’t do on my own. I have to ask His help. It’s so hard to discipline my mind to stop trying to figure things out for myself. But when I examine my heart, I admit that I don’t know what’s best or what lies ahead. Only God knows.
And you know what? I’m glad. I’m grateful that I don’t see a charcoal sky and flashing lightning on the horizon. All I need to know is that I am not walking through a hurricane alone. Jesus is walking through it with me, just as he walked on a raging sea 2,000 years ago.
You remember the story, right? The disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake. Peter asked Jesus to prove it was really He by inviting Peter to walk on the water with Him. I imagine Peter jumping out of the boat and striding toward Jesus, a big smile on his face. But then Peter noticed something – his hair and beard whipping wildly in his face. The wind scared Peter, and he started to sink.
Do you remember how did Jesus save Peter? He reached down, grabbed Peter’s hand, and pulled him up out of the water. Matthew 14:31 reads, “Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed [Peter]. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?’” (NLT)
This makes my heart ache. Why did Peter doubt Jesus? Or, more to the point, why do I doubt Him? I hate having to answer. But I’ll whisper it to you: because I am afraid.
Few things distance us from God as efficiently as fear. I’ll admit it. I am afraid of the storm I’m walking through. But every day I am choosing to trust God. The opposite of fear is faith. I know deep down that He walks beside me, reaches down, and grabs my hand. I know that Jesus will keep pulling me up as many times as it takes until I learn to completely depend on Him.
Please pray for me. Please pray that I will grow in my faith.
Have a wonderful week. Blessings!