Do you ever feel afraid? Not just butterflies in the stomach or things going bump in the night afraid, but afraid of the future or of things that might happen? How will bills get paid? What if my beloved dies? What if I have to spend more time and money than I have on parents, children, or family? Will my children grow up safe? Will I get sick or disabled? What if I lose my job? How will I manage all the stress on my time?
Some days the worries and concerns keep piling up. It seems as if life's demands are like an never ending leaky faucet: Drip. Drip. Drip. And there appears to be no way to turn off the demands.
The other week I was feeling that drippiness of life. It just seemed like a never ending stream of: "Can you do this...? Can you pick up...? I need such and such... Would you mind doing... Would you be available?
As it happens so many times in the past, as I read my daily Bible reading, the verses for that specific day spoke to those issues on my heart. I was reading the story of Jesus walking on water (John 6: 16-20). As the story goes the disciples were out on a boat, traveling across the sea to get to the other side. They had just come from participating and witnessing the feeding of the five thousand. They must've been exhausted. Can you imagine anything worse than thousands of hungry people and not any quantity of food around? Sure, they witnessed and were part of a multiplication miracle but prior to that occurring, the atmosphere must have been incredibly stressful.
So, off they go on a boat and Jesus is no where to be seen. Were they worried that something had happened to him? Were they worried that something would happen to them? As they were rowing the seas got rough and the wind started blowing. It is interesting that these seasoned fishermen would be scared and worried about a familiar situation. But how many times have I, under unfavorable conditions been worried and anxious for no apparent reason. Things that normally wouldn't affect me at all, can become major issues when I am tired, hungry, angry or stressed.
It is in that stressful and worrisome time that the disciples spy someone, an apparition coming towards them across the water. Jesus speaks to them first, "It is I. Do not be afraid." In my Bible translation it suggests that the phrase, "It is I" is deliberately chosen. "It is I" harkens back to when Moses encounters God at the burning bush. "I am who I am". That phrase should remind them that God is the one who was, who is and who will always be. He has provided and protected them in the past and will do so in their future. They need not have any worries or anxieties. He is with them and will safely take them ashore.
I need that reminder today. Jesus tells you and tells me, "It is I. Do not be afraid" every time we feel that life's stressors are getting the best of us. He tells us that when we are worried about our future and its seemingly non-ending drippiness of stress. And he tells us that when we need to get to where we are going.
Jesus' walking on water was miraculous and memorable. The action of His walking and defying natural law showed Him to be divine. He doesn't need special transport to go across the water. He can just move as He wills. And yet, even in His splendor of His divinity He was interested in calming the fears of His subjects. Once Jesus enters the boat, the seas calm and all is restored. The disciples didn't need to be afraid because He is who He is and He cares for each one of them.
You and I do not have to be afraid, worried or anxious. We have access to the Divine who will get into our boats, love us where we are, eliminate all our fears and take us safely to shore.
What about you? Are you worried and anxious about much? Do you need to witness a walking on water miracle before you can trust the One who calms the seas? When things are tough, remember "It is I". Remember the One who walks on water yet also gets into the boat with us so that we are no longer afraid.