Walking on Troubled Water

January 1963: frozen North Sea!

I grew up on the Belgium coast, on the body of water that serves as a natural border between Belgium and Great Britain, my beloved North Sea. The weather where I lived is generally much milder than where I now live, especially in the winter time! However there was one winter of my childhood that I will never forgetů

It was 1963, and I was just four years old. Western Europe was severely hit that January by more than twenty-five air frosts (This occurs when the temperature of air goes below 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit), making it the coldest winter since 1740. Extremely frigid temperatures were recorded, and then the unthinkable happened: the coast of the North Sea froze! I can still remember standing on the dyke and looking out over mile after mile of frozen waves. No water was visible anywhere! I was tempted to go out on the frozen water and walk on it. I wasn't allowed to do so, however. After all, I was only 4 years old!

Although it was seriously cold that January, the beauty of the frozen sea had me mesmerized. There is beauty even in harsh weather conditions!

Peter also had the opportunity to walk on water. His water, however, was not frozen! In fact, the lake on which his small boat found itself was experiencing heavy and tumultuous winds. Miraculously, Jesus appeared from one corner of the lake, and beyond the possible, ignoring the ravaging storm, he walked on the water.

Naturally, Peter was tempted to walk on the water as well, and when invited to do so, he couldn't decline. And he succeeded! He walked on water! Until he took his eyes off of Jesus, that is, and began concentrating on the swells instead! And when he did, he started to sink: "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" (Matt 14:30 NIV)

The beautiful thing is, Jesus reached out and saved him, even though it was Peter's own fault that he found himself in trouble.

Peter discovered beauty in storms that day. But only as long as he kept his eyes on his Master!

We are experiencing heavy, frigid winds in our world right now. They are affecting our economy, our housing, our means of living. Inflation, as well as unemployment, are on the rise. Desperation is hitting an all time high, as well as sleeplessness and anxiety. May I encourage us not to focus our attention on the frigid circumstances around us. Instead, let us turn our eyes on our Lord and Saviour. When we are able to center our concentration on Him, we will notice beauty, even amidst our turmoil. That's when the peace of God that surpasses any understanding will fill our inner selves. Beyond a doubt, we will realize that we are not alone out there. We are not at the mercy of the elements. Jesus is there, right next to us, holding us tenderly in His arms, crying with our pain. He will lead us to solid ground and will continue to sustain us.

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26 NIV)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6-7 NIV)

Our economic and political waters might be quite troubled these days, but with God on our side we will rise up victorious! We will end up walking on our problems! All we have to do is to fix our eyes on the Master and discover His beauty!

"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" (Heb 12:2-3 The Message)

Rob Chaffart

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