Always a Quarter to Nine

Always a Quarter to Nine

Matthew 14:  22-33

The sickness I have carried for over 3 weeks, along with a busy preaching and teaching schedule had left me exhausted.

I woke up this morning to winter winds howling and snowdrifts blowing outside my window.  Things settled in around me and I began to feel a little dismal.  Something about not leaving the house for the past weeks was starting to get me a bit stir crazy.

As I scooped up my books and my Bible to head into my office, I looked at my watch  and thought … oh, good, it’s only a quarter to nine.  I’ll get quite a bit of work done before the calls start pouring in and the emails and text messages need my attention.

I opened my Bible to God’s Word, and the scripture that jumped out at me this morning was the story of Jesus walking on the water.

Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him, out to the lake, while He went off to pray.  The gospel of Mark says that Jesus was about 3 miles off shore, when He saw them between 3-6 a.m.  A big storm was making its way across the water and frightening the men in the boat.

Just then, they looked out and saw someone walking on the water.  Can you imagine the wind whipping at your face, the rain pelting down hard around you. They wondered if it was a ghost that they saw.

But Jesus tells them to not be afraid because it’s Him out water-walking.

When Peter asked if it was really Jesus out walking on the water, Jesus calls out to Peter and says, “Come out to me.”

Peter put his foot over the side of the boat, the winds whipping and blowing all around him, and he began to make his way out to the middle of the lake to the Savior.

But something happens!  Peter looks back down at his own feet, his eyes are off of the Savior and onto himself.   His fear of the waves and wind take over, his disbelief that he can even walk on water overwhelms him.  His eyes are fixed upon himself.

Scripture says that Peter begins to sink.  How wonderful that as he is heading down, down, down, he thinks to say, “Save me!” Not after he is drowning, but while he is sinking.  Peter acknowledges that he can’t … but Jesus can.  Overwhelmed and drowning, Peter was wise enough to cry out “Save me,” to the only One who really could help him, lead him, guide him and save him.  Jesus.

As I look up from my Bible, I notice that it is still a quarter to nine.  Oh, that’s nice I think.  I have a lot of time before people start calling me.

I continued to read through scripture, realizing that Peter’s problem and my problem were one in the same. Each morning I awake to a huge list of tasks.  Creating, developing, leading, praying, learning, growing, stretching … I work, and then I work some more.

Ministry is an overwhelming job in life.  It’s a mind-stretching, faith-building journey, one that I am still growing into.  Frequently, my fear begins when the day begins. How will I do it?  How can I walk in faith?  How will I get to Jesus?  Will I be smart enough to be humble and admit … I can’t, but He can?

The fear of winds blowing and waves pulling me under are ever frequent.  No, they are constant.  But when I reach out to the Savior who is saying, “Come on, Kathy, walk with Me,” I feel a comfort and begin to realize that I am not alone.

I cannot do life by myself.  I cannot face these tasks alone.  I cannot make life altering decisions without sinking … but Jesus can help me.  Jesus will help me.

The computer is dinging now with emails as I look at my watch.  Hmmm … it’s still a quarter to nine.  And now I realize … time has stopped for that watch.  Nothing has changed.  Nothing is different.

And suddenly it all makes sense to me.  What God is speaking to my heart this morning is so very clear.  Unless I make the effort to change that battery in the clock, it remains stalled out … it will not move or change.

Unless I make the effort to go meet Jesus on the water, as Peter did, I will remain stalled out. If I allow my fears of failure or trouble overwhelm me, I will not move or change.  I will remain seated in the boat of my life and unable to walk on the Lake of my own life. Or worse yet … I might get up, put my foot over the side, and keep focused on myself.  Until I feel the waves crashing over me and become cognizant that I’m drowning.

The phone is ringing now, the emails are surfacing, and the text messages are many, but I remain quiet in the boat of my thoughts.

The wind is whipping outside, the waves of life feel enormous around me.  And yet I hear a still, quiet voice whispering in my heart … “Come to me, Kathy.  Rely on me.  I am your strength.  I am your energy.  I am your wisdom.  I am your guidance.  Come on, Kathy.  Walk out and meet me on the water.”

To all of us today, and throughout this next year who feel overwhelmed and drowning: let’s get out of our boats.  Let’s have faith in the One who says, “Peace be still,” to the wind and the waves.  Let’s meet Him in the middle of our Lake of Life.  Let’s believe that He has the power and IS the power to see us through.  Let’s let the clock tick on and believe in the One who has control over it all.