I’m pretty fascinated by the different weather phenomena we experience in the U.S. Being a native Californian, I realize we’re pretty spoiled with our mild winters and warm summers. It amazes me how people in the rest of the country deal with seasonal severe weather—tornados, snow storms, hurricanes. Even though there is often warning for these events, I don’t know how I would function in an area where chaotic weather was a given. I’m a fan of peaceful weather.
Sometimes, the storms we experience in life can look a whole lot like a hurricane. Finances get strained. Relationships fail. Health becomes poor. Living life in an imperfect world can leave us feeling like we’re caught in a severe storm—with chaos swirling around us and situations battering against us—stifling any progress we would hope to make. But there is hope.
We’ve all heard about the eye of the hurricane, but few have ever experienced it. A friend of mine was an engineer on a submarine during his time in the Navy. He tells of a time they were beneath surface and were tracking a hurricane that was passing over. At one point the Commanding Officer ordered the boat to surface and he, along with the XO and my friend went up and opened the hatch. He tells the story that they surfaced in the center of the eye and it was an eerie peaceful experience, he said, to be in the midst of the still yet watching the storm rage 360° around you just a mile or so away. Just like the eye of a hurricane, we have access to calm in the midst of our storms through Jesus and His perfect peace.
I imagine this peace is what Peter felt in those few moments where he walked on the water to Jesus. We see this exchange in Matthew 14:22–33. It was the middle of the night and the disciples were in a boat during a raging storm. All of a sudden, they see someone walking on the water toward them, and they think it’s a ghost. I like the way the rest of this exchange is worded in the New Living Translation:
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” He said. “Take courage. I am here!]”
Then Peter called to Him, “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
We talked earlier this year about how Peter had a tremendous amount of faith to even consider getting out of the boat. He gets a bad reputation for sinking, but the fact that he even took that first step should be noted. In that moment, Peter experienced peace in the midst of the storm, with his eyes focused on Jesus.
The same holds true for us. If God is truly leading us, and we put our trust in Him, then the closer we draw to Him, the safer we will be. This is easier said than done at times. The unrest we feel around us can be a huge distraction, and we can all too easily take our eyes off of Jesus and find ourselves sinking. But, if we commit to pursue Him, regardless of the storm, we will find ourselves enveloped by His perfect peace—just like the calm in the eye of the hurricane. And the good news is that even when we’re sinking, Jesus is right there with His outstretched hand, ready to pull us out of the water and back onto solid ground. I pray that during this next season we will all commit to a greater level of trust in our Lord, knowing that we can weather any storm around us, as long as we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and our hearts committed to trusting where He leads us.