Sunday I spoke at Phoenix Community of Buford, and I referenced the story in Matthew 14 of Jesus walking on the water. He had just fed over 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and had sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee while He stayed behind to pray. During the night, while sailing to the other side, the boat was caught in a sudden blow-up storm over the lake. Nearly sinking, and in an exhausted panic, the men saw Jesus coming to them, walking on the waves! Thinking they were seeing a ghost, Jesus identified Himself, and Peter shouted back, “If it really is you, let me come out to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come on,” and Peter stepped out on the waves with Jesus…for a moment. Seeing the storm and waves raging around him, and maybe realizing how impossible this normally is, Peter lost focus on Jesus, and began to sink in he water, crying out for help. Immediately Jesus caught him, pulled him back up, and asked, “Why did you doubt?”
There is a scene in the final Hobbit film, “The Battle of Five Armies”, that reminds me of this passage. Smaug the dragon is laying waste the city of Laketown, breathing fire and destruction upon the hapless people and their homes. The bowman Bard climbs to the top of a teetering tower, firing wooden arrows at the monstrous beast. As the arrows merely bounce off Smaug’s tough scales, Bain, Bard’s son, appears with a black iron arrow, the only one capable of penetrating the dragon’s armor. Steadying the arrow on Bain’s shoulder, Bard takes aim. With the dragon thunderously bearing down on them, Bain casts his gaze toward the terrible monster. Then he hears the voice of his father- “Bain! Look at me. You look at me.” They let the arrow fly, and it strikes the mark, felling the horrible monster.
When we encounter life’s storms, or the horrors of this present world, it is easy to lose sight of Christ. Focusing on our surroundings or circumstances can cause us to tremble with fear, or sink in anxiety and depression. Yet Jesus promises if we will keep our focus on Him, He will protect and provide for us. Hebrews 12:2 says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” and Psalm 34:5 states, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.”
Facing the storms and the dragons of life with a rock-solid focus on the Author and finisher of our faith, will truly strengthen us and make us shine, inside and out. He is able.