My grandmother (whom I miss every time I make scones) was from England. She was genteel and polite and soft spoken. She was stoic. (They say that’s the English way.)
I (lovingly) blame her for the way I tend to “bottle” things up. The way I tend to stuff emotions down day after day, completely surprised when they spill out everywhere once there is no more room in my head and heart. (It’s not necessarily a good thing.)
I go into survival mode. “Doing” things I feel I can do. Not being able to control certain things, I focus on what I can do, and I do it. For example, the day after Lance lost his job, I went grocery shopping and came home with this, among other things–
I mean, really. It was on sale, but still. Anyway, while saying, “I’m fine, I’m fine,” I only partially deal with the reality. Thus, greatly limiting God in changing my heart through this ordeal.
Yesterday, while allowing a simple act of trying to assist in the job search to turn into a frantic charade of striving, I completely lost sight of whose battle this is.
He came up behind me, sensing my heightened emotions ready to let loose, and told me to put on my shoes and go for a drive. Clear my head. I’m sure what he well knew was that I didn’t need to clear my head as much as I did just to clear my HEART of all this panic and allow God’s truth to calm my self-induced anxiety.
So wrapped up in the waves crashing all around me and not (at the moment) knowing how to pray, I sent her a tentative text.
“Struggling.” It said.
“Can I call you?” She said.
Do you have a friend like that? Maybe you’re blessed enough to have several. Friends that know your heart. Your journey. Your struggle. Friends that you can call at your absolute craziest. They don’t mind the crazy. They just listen and then lovingly lead you to the truth.
She let me shed self-indignant tears at watching “this happen” to the one I love. She listened while I complained. While I panicked. While I strived to understand. Listened as I strained to see the when and how.
“I was wondering when I’d get this call. Wondering when you would finally let it out.” She said. I sighed. Even in my frustration, I praised God for blessing me with so many pillars of love and truth. Thankful that she was available.
Then she talked. And I listened. (Or rather, HE talked. Through her.)
She reminded me of Peter. Peter, who walked on water— but only because of Christ. Peter, who took his eyes of His Savior (for a moment!) and began to fall. He took his focus from the real Storm Soother and focused on his circumstances. “Wind. Small Boat. Large Waves. Wait– I’m WALKING on water!? That doesn’t even seem safe. Maybe I should… Maybe I could turn around. Maybe I can’t do this after all. Why did I think this was a good idea???” Then he began to sink. It literally says, “When he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me.” (Matt.14:30)
As for what happened next, Jesus could have been so frustrated with him that He just let him tread water for awhile. Or maybe let him go under a couple of times– before sighing and pulling him back up. But he didn’t.
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (vs 31) Immediately. He is faithful to rescue us from our worry when we place our eyes on Him. The moment we surrender our own ways of trying to figure things out, He takes our anxious thoughts and presents us with the “peace that passes understanding.” To the human heart, a peace like that would not make sense in the midst of difficult circumstances. There would be no formula, clear answer, or plan of attack. It literally would not be understandable, but would “pass understanding.”
Peter was faced with a choice. Trust himself and find himself wanting for the task. Or trust Jesus and allow Him to perform the miracle. Peter was just a man. He was not God. In fact, he was a fallen man who would later deny Jesus. But as my dear friend reminded me, Peter was a sinner. He didn’t always trust God right away. But when he began to sink, he knew Who to call out to. And he believed.
May the same be said of us.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2