“Lord, if it is really You, then tell me to meet You on the water,” Peter called to Jesus who walked on the water to be with His disciples.
Peter boldly stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But then he took his eyes off of Jesus. He focused on the boisterous waves swirling around him.
“Lord, save me!” he cried out as fear and desperation choked him and the sea threatened to swallow him.
Did Jesus let him drown? No, He Immediately reached down His hand and caught him.
I can almost imagine the sorrow in Jesus’ eyes as He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I don’t believe Jesus said it to condemn Peter but to plead with him to keep his eyes focused on Him, not on the storm. And He questioned him, so Peter would question and examine himself.
This story (Matthew 14:22-34) has often been used by God to strengthen me. I identify with Peter and his dancing back and forth between faith and fear. And yet, even though Jesus knew Peter would grievously deny Him in the future and even though Peter doubted His power to keep him on top of the water when he saw and felt the power of the storm, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Jesus will never, ever abandon us and let us drown, no matter how much we doubt Him. His faithfulness, love, and compassion are limitless.
It’s so easy to be swallowed up in the storms of life, isn’t it? As I look back on my life, there were many times when wave after wave crashed over me and the undercurrent of doubt and despair sucked me under.
But God! I know now that He was keeping me from drowning even when I felt like not even He cared or understood me.
Relief from my troubles and despair didn’t always come immediately. Often it was just a quiet strength to help me keep putting one foot in front of the other. In hindsight I see more of the depth of His amazing love and faithfulness that upheld me. How He reached out and pulled me up, how He brought my limp body and spirit to the shore of His grace and breathed life into me, how He carried me when I had no strength to keep going. Again and again… And He still does…
May God strengthen and calm you with His love
and grace in the midst of life’s storms!
Are you in one of life’s storms right now?
What has been the greatest storm in your life?
What verses calm you in the midst of the storm?
Sometimes He Calms the Storm
by Scott Krippayne
“…Sometimes He calms the storm With a whispered peace be still He can settle any sea But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close And lets the wind and waves go wild Sometimes He calms the storm And other times He calms His child…”
“We know nothing of the trials, sorrows and temptations of those around us,
of pillows wet with sobs, of the life-tragedy that may be hidden behind a smile,
of the secret cares, struggles, and worries that shorten life
and leave their mark in hair prematurely whitened,
and a character changed and almost recreated in a few days.
Let us not dare to add to the burden of another the pain of our judgment.”
~ William George Jordan
Do you ever wonder what the story behind a person’s outward appearance is? Some paste on smiles, myself included, to hide heartaches. Some display a tough attitude to hide the crumbling inside of them that they can’t seem to stop. Even sad faces don’t really tell us the depth of the pain they are suffering.
Last summer my husband and I walked on the bike trail beside the river above the Sioux Falls.
Doesn’t this duckling look perfectly content? Like he is happily taking a rest on this branch? Like he doesn’t have a care in the world?
It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Yes, a picture can say more than a lot of words can in some instances, but often it doesn’t tell the hidden painful story behind the scenes.
As we leaned on a stone wall, I zoomed him in, so he looks closer than he really is. He is actually unreachable in an overflow of the river. What you don’t see in this photo is what we heard. He had peeped so long and so hard that his little voice was hoarse. He was stranded, abandoned, and alone.
Farther below us and downstream was a gathering of ducks. Didn’t anyone hear him? Where was his mother?
Then I saw her and his siblings downstream on the shore. She was too far away to hear and she didn’t even seem to notice one of her ducklings was missing. Between him and them was a rushing stream.
Outward appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? A person can appear to look happy or put on such a strong front, but inside there is so much hidden pain.
Are you one of these broken ones hiding behind a smile or a tough attitude?
God sees and hears our broken hearts. Not one tear is hidden from Him. He knows how hard it is for us, and He understands us when no one else does.
I wish I could tell you the duckling’s story ended happily. My heart ached so for him. I wish my arms would have been long enough to reach him and help him. I often wonder what happened to the little fella. 😦
What I can tell you with assurance is that there is One whose arms are always long enough to reach us. He has the willingness and the power to rescue us, however impossible it seems from our side.
Our stories may be heartbreaking, but He will give us a happy ending someday. We may have to wait a while, and that certainly isn’t easy, but His story of love for us will always give us sufficient grace until that time comes.
“Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.”
He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Luke 18:27
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelations 21:4
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18
We’re all planted in the garden of life. In the exact spot where God wants us to be. But sometimes we rebel against it. I know I do.
When the effects of past abuse and chronic illness sometimes drain the life out of me, I complain in my heart. I wish I was in a field where shame and insecurity didn’t taunt me. Where I didn’t feel so insignificant and worthless. Where a lack of physical health didn’t limit what I can do.
I see others who are more beautiful, fruitful, and significant than I am. Others who seem to make a much greater difference than I do in this hurting world. Others who bring much more light into the darkness of lives. And I grumble. I get jealous. I covet.
I recently read a devotion that reminds me of how easily I fall into that comparison trap:
An ancient legend tells of a king who walked into his garden one day to find almost everything withered and dying. After speaking to an oak near the gate, the king learned that he was troubled because he was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine overheard their conversation and added that she, too, was upset, for she could not bear delicious fruit like the pear tree. The pear tree heard his name and began to complain that he did not have the lovely odor of the spruce. And so it went throughout the entire garden.
Near the very edge of the garden grew a little daisy. As the king approached, he noticed her bright little face, full of life. “Well, little flower,” said the monarch, “I’m glad to find that there is at least one happy face in my garden.”
“Oh king,” she said, “I know I’m little, and not many people notice me, but one day I realized that if you planted me here, you must have had a good reason. So, your majesty, I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!” (Read more – Bloom Where You’re Planted – George Whitten)
God has planted us where He wants us. We may feel choked out by losses, troubles, and negative emotions. But if we don’t accept where our Gardener has placed us and what He has given us, we will wither, not bloom as we were intended to.
When complaints, grumbles, and envy churn up in my heart, I feel so sad. I see Jesus with tears in His eyes. He has given me so much, He has a purpose in planting me where I am, and He is using me to make a difference, however limited my world may be. And the very things that get me down are what bring me nearer to His heart. They mold me more into His likeness. His likeness of love poured out.
When I fall into the comparison trap, I lose sight of the purpose I am here for in the first place – to bring God glory. It’s not about what I “do.” It’s about “being.” Being rooted in the depths of His purpose, not my selfish desires. Opening my heart to drink from His bottomless pool of renewing grace. Allowing the sunshine of His love to nourish me to bloom His love to others.
Sometimes our focus gets skewed in the muck and messiness of life. We start thinking everyone else is better than we are instead of remembering God uniquely created each of us with a special purpose. Each one of us is needed in His garden. None of us is insignificant in His eyes.
The Gardener delights in each of His plantings. He places each plant in such a way that it will compliment the other in the grand scheme of things. Where one serves a purpose to some souls, someone else brings what is needed to other souls. Plants are placed exactly where God can give the best nourishment to each and they can in turn pass on that nourishment to others.
We are in it for God. To His glory. And we can’t do that if we concentrate on another’s purpose in the garden instead of our own. As the little daisy said, “I know I’m little, and not many people notice me, but one day I realized that if you planted me here, you must have had a good reason. So, your majesty, I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!”
How is it possible to be the best little flower we can be? Accept where God has planted us, open our hearts to His nurturing love and grace, and let His love bloom in our lives for others to take comfort from.
Every seed of kindness we plant,
However small, noticed or unnoticed,
Can bloom hope in the heart of a hurting soul,
A soul aching to be loved and cared about.
Every tiny seed planted will grow
And sprinkle seeds to others,
Making a difference in the lives of many.
“Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name give glory, for Your mercy and loving-kindness and for the sake of Your truth and faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1 AMP
“Bring all who claim Me as their God, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.”
Isaiah 43:7 NLT
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” John 15:5 AMP
“Love’s Where It All Begins” Inspiring Song About Love