Safe In The Hands
Matthew 14: 22-33 (NIVUK)
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
28 ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
29 ‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’
Recently I underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I suffer from a reasonably rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma. It is not curable but it can be controlled and a decent quality of life enjoyed. When you undergo treatment like this over a long period of time you learn a lot about dependance. So much is taken out of your control and you eventually come to terms with the fact that to a large extent your life is in the hands of others. They have the knowledge and the expertise that can sustain your life.
This is a mindset that does not come naturally. But there may come a time for many of us when we need to be content with the reality that we need others for something we cannot do for ourselves. This extends to our relationship with God. More than at any time I faced the challenge of believing that I was in God’s hands. No matter how bad I may have been feeling I was living this experience with God. He promises His people that His love is not erased by the worst of times. He promises His people that that His good purpose for them will be sustained through the worst of times to the end. This is the God I have come to know through Jesus. He had to be my focus through treatment, transplant and recovery.
Peter lost his focus when called by Jesus to step out on to the waves. This was an experience he could not have imagined. This was a new reality that defied all the laws of nature as he knew them. I mean, you just don’t walk on water! But no sooner had he stepped out than he became afraid. He was distracted by the wind on the water and began to sink. It happens. It happened to me. There were days when all I could pray was Peter’s cry: ‘Save me!’ But it is at that point, at the end of ourselves that we fully appreciate in whose hands we are held. ‘Jesus reached out his hand and caught him’ (see verses 30-31).
Bartimaeus (from our key reading in the month from Mark 10: 46-52) was confident in Jesus. He continued to cry out to Him knowing that His touch would make a difference to his life.
You ask us not to take a leap of faith, not to step out in the darkness, but to trust You who count us worthy of Your death upon a cross, and from whose grip we can never be snatched away.
Help us to live in the truth of who You are and what You have done for us. Amen.