In these last few months it may have seemed like lots of things are out of control.
Whether you’re scared, anxious, bored, or fed up of this pandemic, I am sure it doesn’t feel like you’re in control. But as followers of Jesus we can still find our hope in Him and recognise that He is in control even when we’re not. One Bible passage which powerfully demonstrates this is Matthew 14:22-33, where Jesus walks on water.
Like the disciples, we are amid a huge storm where it feels like we are at the mercy of nature. Much of society has been turned on its head; our ability to see friends and loved ones remains significantly impeded. We may be fearful and feel the strain of the situation – physically, spiritually, and emotionally - like all we have is this tiny boat to cling to, just hoping the storm passes soon without causing too much damage.
But Jesus, walking peacefully among the waves, tells the disciples ‘take courage, do not be afraid’. Though they were terrified, Jesus was right there with them and in control of what was happening. And Jesus is in control of this pandemic too. He is the One who holds our reality together; everything is under his authority. And this means we do not have to hold onto the boat, our comfort zone, when we are in a storm because we can hold onto Jesus. We can take courage and have complete trust in Him.
Now Peter recognised this, and Jesus beckoned him over. What seems like a crazy request was actually Jesus giving Peter an opportunity to grow in faith and see God’s power outworked. Do we know that Jesus is inviting us to step out too, even though the storm is raging around us? What if He is using it to draw us closer to Him? It must have been nerve-wracking walking across the waves, but Peter did something he never imagined doing. When we step out in faith it’s like we’re in Peter’s position; while it may be intense, we feel ourselves growing closer to Jesus, trusting in His faithfulness and doing things we didn’t expect. Yes, like Peter we can also get scared, lose focus, and start to sink. We can convince ourselves we can’t do it. But because Jesus remains in control we do not need to doubt.
Stepping outside our comfort zone can be intimidating, especially in a difficult situation like this pandemic which drains our energy and can limit our expectations. But as C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘if you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.’ So are we going to stay in the boat, or are we going to trust that Jesus is in control and step out in faith? Are we going to try and wait out the storm, or embrace the opportunities God may be giving us in it?
Maybe you can find ways to serve and be generous to your housemates. Perhaps you can chat to people about faith and invite them to watch church, even offering to pray or read the Bible with them. It could be something more personal, like finally going for that run, or putting devotional rhythms in place such as regularly reading Scripture, praying, or fasting. It may be committing to church instead of disengaging, even if that means pushing through online fatigue. It could just be letting people know you are a Christian. Whatever stepping out the boat looks like for you, we can take courage knowing Jesus is the One who is in control.
Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash.