Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jesus' Tender and Merciful Hand

"Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. 'You of little of faith,'" he said, 'why did you doubt?'" (Matthew 14:31).

Jesus sent His disciples to the other side of the lake, while He stayed back to pray. While the disciples were out on the open water, a storm blew up and the disciples were likely confused, if not scared. Jesus met them in the storm, by walking on the water. When they saw Him, they were frightened, and Jesus tried to reassure them of Who He was. Peter, in his boldness, asked Jesus to show Himself to be truly Himself, by having Peter walk out on the water. Jesus replied, "Come," and Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water.

But when Peter saw his surroundings, he became afraid, began to sink and cried out to Jesus, "Lord, save me!"

Jesus, tenderly and mercifully, reached out His hand, caught Peter and said to Him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

I do not hear condemnation from Jesus, but gentleness, from a Saviour Who wants to reassure and comfort. It is such a personal touch on Jesus part. He could have just put Himself and Peter back in the boat at that instant, but instead, He grabs hold of His hand and catches him.

Storms occur in life, dear reader, don't they? Sometimes they are quick to pass, and other times they seem to last and last. You may see Jesus in your storm, and your desire may be to step out in obedience and walk closer towards Him. At first, you are amazed at what you are able to walk on or through. It almost defies understanding. Oftentimes, though, fear stirs up and we take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on our circumstances.

In the storm Jesus is there and He invites us to "Come." If you are walking out in obedience to Jesus in a difficult situation, trust Him to support and sustain you in the most unimaginable way, as you keep your eyes focused on Him and not on your circumstances.

Sometimes, in the midst of walking out in obedience, though, our faith can be tossed about and washed with worry. We may become fearful and cry out, like Peter, "Lord, save me!" We may feel as if we are sinking, but it is here that Jesus reaches out and grabs our hand, catches us and reassures us of His love. I received this small picture in the mail this past week from a sweet friend. I am reminded that when life gets hard and I feel as if I am beginning to lose my footing, that Jesus immediately is present to catch me and hold my hand. And I am confident, too, that He is faithful to deliver and calm the storm, some day, in His way.

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