Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rowing into the Wind

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.John 6:16-21

My experience with rowing is generally on calm little ponds and lakes, although I have had some experience trying to stay upright and moving in a rowboat on the ocean. Years ago, my Dad had a boat, which when sea-worthy (and that is stretching the term) we would go out way out into the bay and fish for the better parts of a day. He was younger then. When the boat finally gave up the ghost, he would occasionally rent a rowboat with an outboard motor for tamer fishing trips. The hardest task is getting the boat from the beach into the deeper waters. And if the surf is high and the wind is up, it is an impossible task. It drains the life out of even a strong young person, used to the challenges of the ocean.

The disciples were moving on after a huge feast, a miracle feast. They might have thought that life, in Jesus' company would be now be smooth sailing and easy all they way. That same night, their faith and their strength was tested. Where was their Savior, the one who had fed all those poor people with a little boy's lunch and who promised to take care of us always? Life on the open water had become a nightmare. Exhaustion and fear set in. They felt abandoned, destitute and alone. Worse now, their exhaustion had made them crazy, they saw visions and apparitions and knew their time was at an end. Jesus appears in the storm, walking calmly and reassuring them of his presence with them. The life of faith proves very quickly to be challenging and exhausting, even as the savior is very near.

Today, there are lots of challenges ahead for me. There is some rough surf to face and some ill winds blowing. I want to live today, trusting in Jesus walking beside me despite the stormy seas and the wicked wind. I want to live trusting in a Savior who is able to bring abundance and to bring us all to our destination. May this be a day of trusting in God's love, no matter how high the seas roll. For the wind, waves and all turmoil are signs of God's presence with us, and in a moment we will find ourselves nestled in the saving arms of a loving God.

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