The storm had the quality of chaos that melts one’s courage. Where the orderly world once existed—and the illusion of control—there was the unhinging of helpless terror. Had they ever been ripped by a wind so strong? The boat spun and bucked on the waves like a piece of tree bark, tiny in the midst of the powerful squall.
“Look!” one shouted, and they all swung to follow his outstretched hand, pointing toward the horizon. There, in the maelstrom, a pale smudge was conspicuously still. And approaching. “A spirit!”
Suddenly drowning in the storm was no longer the worst that could happen.
“It’s the Master!” cried Peter.
“Impossible,” called Thomas, securing one of the useless oars with coarse rope.
Before anyone could argue, the wind whistled away from them, leaving only a whisper of a breeze that lifted their hair and flipped up the edges of their tunics as it, too, departed. The figure drew nearer—not in the water, but on it. Their feet stuck fast to the planks of the boat, bodies frozen in fascination.
“Lord,” Peter shouted, his voice cracking beneath the strain, “if it’s you, tell me to come out to you!”
“Simon!” hissed Andrew, making a grab for his brother’s arm. “Don’t be a fool.” He risked a glance at the approaching form. “Whatever he is, you’re only a man.”
“Come,” said the voice they all knew so well, calm and measured in the quiet night.
“No,” said Andrew, but Peter shook off his restraining hand and gave him a practiced, rough shove.
He threw one leg over the rail, then the other, perching for a moment. The lake was eerily calm, smooth-surfaced as water in a wash basin. Raising his gaze, he could barely make out the Master’s features in the soft dark. He held his breath and dropped to the water.
That moment would be the hardest decision for me.
When I’m afraid, I try to cling to some scrap of the illusion of control.
As he released his grip on the solid, weathered wood of the boat, Peter was suspended for a moment in mid-air, caught between the known and the unknown. Adrift in faith.
And that’s the time we’re most vulnerable but most alive. Will we sink or swim? We don’t know the answer, but are certain to find out in 3… 2… 1…
I’m so grateful our Lord won’t ever let us drown, won’t ever leave us to figure it out or try to save ourselves.
No matter how hard I struggle to control the storm, control the boat, control the unknowable deep, I always end up face-to-face with the same conclusion:
I can’t, but He will.
And as I grow in Him, I notice I’m able to release my grip a little easier each time. I feel gravity’s pull, hold my breath, brace for the impact. Trust.
When have you trusted in God’s grace even in seemingly impossible circumstances?