Have you ever tried to swim in the ocean, but the waves were so hard they hurt?
I certainly have, and usually after several scratches or bruises are incurred from being thrown onto a jagged bed of miniscule seashells or face planted into the sand, I give up and decide to walk away from the water completely, much like my son did in my Proverbs 31 devotion today.
Too bad we can’t just walk away like that from the circumstances of life that are causing us suffering, or making us frustrated and stressed. How great it would be, if whenever we got tired of being thrown into one wave of adversity after another, we could just leave those waves behind us.
My mom always pokes fun by saying “I don’t mind facing reality, I just don’t want to live there!” I think that comment holds true for most of us, because who wants to live in a reality that is full of waves of adversity day after day? Who doesn’t get tired of being tossed about in the storms of life? But reality is that we all get stressed at times, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus, the stress, is less.
Matthew 14:28-31 provides an excellent visual of how keeping our hearts, and our eyes, focused on Jesus, helps us not only get through storms, but keep our heads above water. In this passage the disciples are caught in a terrible storm, their boat being tossed around wildly by the torrential waves. But then they see Jesus across the way, and Peter calls out to Him. The Message Bible translates these verses this way:
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” 29-30 He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” 31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
Peter had his eyes drilled into the eyes of Jesus, and He felt bold. He jumped out of the boat. He walked on water. But when he looked at the waves, instead of Jesus, he felt afraid, he lacked courage, and he began to sink.
I can’t tell you how many times my name could have been “Peter”. Not just a long time ago, but even as recently as yesterday. When waves of fear, insecurity, discouragement or stress hit, we are only human, and tend to take our eyes off of Jesus too. Our human nature causes us to worry or fret over big and small things, and we may begin to sink in our reality.
But what sweet comfort it brings knowing that Jesus didn’t hesitate in rescuing Peter, despite his heartbreaking lack of faith. Instead, He grabbed Peter’s hand and immediately pulled him back up above the water.
Maybe you are feeling beaten up by waves today; sinking in the storms of life. Take a moment to close your eyes, envision yourself standing in the ocean in the middle of a storm, Jesus looking at you from a distance, and summoning you to come to Him. Be bold, and walk in faith. Even if you have doubted or taken your eyes off of Him in the past, know that He still loves you and as soon as you call out for rescue, He won’t hesitate to reach down and grab your hand. Do you believe it? Doesn’t the truth about His mercy bring a peace to your soul?
Sometimes waves hurt, and reality isn’t always fun or stress-free – but we do still have to live there. Fortunately, the peace of Jesus can live in reality with us too, and His Presence will always master the waves.
THE WINNER OF TUESDAY’S BOOK GIVEAWAY IS:
Wanda, who posted on October 2 at 11:46am, blog-The Watered Soul. Please send me an email with your mailing address!
TO ENTER TODAY’S GIVEAWAY OF A SIGNED COPY OF STRESSED-LESS LIVING:
Although we know that Jesus is the only real cure for stress – sometimes it brings a sweet wave of stress relief to think about positive things!
So let’s have some fun today and help lift each other’s spirits with encouraging posts instead of focusing on why we are stressed.
To enter to win, post a comment about something you enjoy that helps temporarily make you feel a little less stressed, or a simple pleasure of life that brings joy to your heart. 🙂
AFTER YOU LEAVE YOUR COMMENT: Visit my precious friend and P31 sister Karen Ehman’s blog today and enter to win her special Stressed-Less Living giveaway too!