In this week’s Gospel lesson we find the Disciples of our Lord trapped in a storm. They find themselves in that storm because they have been commanded by the Lord to cross the Sea of Galilee. These men are following the will of the Lord and yet, we see them struggling against the storm. Have not we found ourselves in that place also? Have not we found ourselves in life’s storms and no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do; it seems that we cannot make it through?
We all experience times like that! It may seem like the storm will never end and that no possible good thing can come from what we are facing. As Christians, especially nowadays, when we are trying to obediently serve our Lord, we will have to face storms. Can we find the benefits and blessings in the midst of the storms in our lives? We must remember that Jesus Christ has allowed these storms in our lives. We must remember that Christ comes in the middle of our darkness, just as He came walking on the water during “the fourth watch,” which was the darkest time of the night. Even the darkest hours of life cannot hide us from the face of God. He is there even when we cannot see Him! We must remember that Christ comes in the middle of disaster.
When the Disciples thought all hope was gone and they were doomed, Jesus came walking on the waves. Christ may not keep us from going into the storm; however He will keep us in the midst of the storm!
When Peter heard that it was Jesus, he wanted to join Jesus in walking on the water. Jesus simply told Peter to come. Peter obeyed and got out of the boat and walked on the water. Jesus used the storm as a means of helping Peter grow in faith. Sadly, Peter’s walk did not last long. Peter found himself in trouble when he took his eyes off of Jesus and he began to sink. Peter remembered who was in control and called out to Jesus and found the help he needed.
The storms in our lives are there to remind us who is in control. Just as Peter, we too sometimes, take our eyes off of Jesus in the midst of our storms. There is a way to make our storms more bearable: do not wait until the storm is over to call out to Jesus. We need to call out to Him when the waves are still threatening our boats. Nothing reveals our faith in Christ more than when we are willing to accept His will and love Him, even when things look the worst for us.
Christ is the one who told us to come and follow Him even though we may be so scared and frightened. What should we choose – the water or the boat? The boat is safe secure and more comfortable. On the other hand, the water is rough, the waves are high and the wind is out there. If we get out of the boat, whatever our “boat” happens to be, there is a good chance we may sink! However, if we do not get out of the boat, there is guaranteed certainty that we will never walk on the water. If we want to walk on the water then we have to get out of the boat.
Our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church has so much more to offer its faithful members and the world around us than to just be individuals who want to “sit in the boat.” We are proud and faithful and God fearing followers of Jesus Christ! We have so much to offer the world as Orthodox Christians with such a rich and splendid Ukrainian heritage! No one can ever take this from us! If we do not get out of the boat, we will never know the things God wants us to do in and through us to serve His Holy Church. He has so much planned for us…we just need to step out!
Rev. Fr. Mark Swindle
Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church