Saturday, July 27, 2013

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus in a Storm

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus in a Storm

by Peggy K. Mack 

July 27, 2013

In recent weeks, I have developed an ever growing prayer list for individuals with serious concerns in their lives.  Many are carrying great emotional, mental or physical burdens. Most are hundreds of miles away from me.  At first, my question was "What can I do for them that would make a difference?"  

The answer comes in our walk in faith.  We have our gift of thought, words and deeds.  We have our gift of prayer on their behalf. But most important of all, we have our time to go to God in silence and meditation with heartfelt pleas.  We have our faith, as weak as it might be, to believe not in ourselves or in the act of praying, but in God's willingness to listen and to do that which we wholeheartedly petition Him to do.  As I have mentioned before, it is through our asking that God recognizes our prayers and He takes on the task of repairing lives and bodies and minds and hearts.  

Often times when we see someone we care about going through a difficult time, it is our nature to say the first thing that comes to our mind.  We ask questions, we offer solutions and we often times get frustrated and even give up when we see no changes or progress, or worse yet, we see things getting worse.

I thought back to a time when I was in the center of a storm in my life.  It was during that time that I received much advise from friends, family, counselors, Christian counselors, our pastor and members of our church.  Anyone who would listen to me was willing to give advice.

And although, I valued their time and their advice I had this need to keep my eye on God.  I felt compelled to test my own faith with being patient even though the pain I was experiencing in life was causing me to be sleepless, to feel ill, to lose weight without dieting and to finally lose fistfuls of hair from my head.  I could not even brush my head gently without thousands of strands literally leaving my head.  It seemed the more I struggled, the more challenges piled up on me.  I was feeling overwhelmed and had the intense feeling of drowning. 

 It was during that time I recalled the Bible story of Jesus walking on the water.  I researched the story and found it in Matthew, Chapter 14, verses 22-33.   My mind was filled with this vivid image of Peter finding the courage to step out of the boat, and even then, his courage and faith were strong, he lost sight of Jesus and focused on the storm itself and began to sink. Jesus was with the disciples in the storm and once he saved Peter, he calmed the waters and the disciples knew He was the true Son of God.  He showed them that in the worst of storms, no matter how strong we believe our faith is in Him, ultimately, we will fail unless we keep our eye on Him in the storm.

I endured twenty -two months filled with uncontrollable sadness and tears, a sense of loss and betrayal, an overwhelming fear of being in my own home and the need to run.  And yet, my eye remained on Christ.  My true belief was that I was going to have to ask for patience and faith.  I was going to truly take a walk in faith that required me to ignore my fears and focus on Christ.  I had to dig down with His help and rely on faith to keep me safe and patient until I knew without any doubt that the time was right to be free. I literally had no idea how I was going to do all that was required of me and had to believe that doors would open, opportunities would come and I would find a peace that passes all understanding and I did.

I look back now and understand that when we have a loved one who cares, listens and prays for us, we are surrounded with their love and it lifts us up and holds us strong.  But ultimately, the answer comes in keeping our eyes on Christ.  If we rely on the advice of our friends, we are risking sinking into the stormy sea.  Only Christ can carry us to calmer waters.

It hurts us when we see loved friends and family going through a storm.  We know what they are feeling and we feel powerless in carrying them.  But God never asked the disciples to carry each other in the storm.  He asked them to stand strong in the storm, to ignore the lashing waves, the torrential rain and the sinking boat and to focus on Him.  

Our best defense that we can offer those we love is to send them words of encouragement, to pray for them with all our hearts and to answer questions they have with the best wisdom we can ask God to give us.  And finally, our best advice is to tell them to "keep your eyes on Jesus in the storm."

 Matthew 14:22-33

verse 30:
 But when he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and saved him.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Hear our hearts and minds as we pray for those in their storms of life.  Bless our prayers that we ask in the true belief that You can do anything for those who come in humility, with contrite hearts and who pray believing.  Be their strength in the storm and speak to them with words of calming hope. Let them never be filled with fear and lose sight of you, for you are with them. 
 Fill us with acts and words of kindness and encouragement.  Carry those we love to safety.  Calm the waters and free their hearts and minds to praise Your good works in their lives.

In Jesus' name we pray, 

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