May 23, 2012 by Stacy McDonald
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace. – Helen Howarth Lemmel.
The things of earth will grow strangely dim. Instead of focusing on Jesus and trusting Him to supply our needs, we often focus on our problems, or what we’re not getting, or how overwhelmed we are, and we sink. I did this today. In fact, as I write this, I’m reminding myself of my own teaching. I’ve shared this lesson with women all over the country in various forms; but, today, I needed to hear it. Maybe you could use some encouragement too?
Remember what happened to Peter on that windy night, with the waves crashing against the side of the boat, when Jesus invited him to walk upon the water to Him? As soon as Jesus called, Peter stepped out of the boat. Yay, Peter! But look what happened next in Matthew 14:30:
“But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’”
This could have easily been me today: “But when she heard the bickering coming from the living room, thought of all she had to do this week, saw the bills laying on the desk, considered the state of the upstairs, and experienced the crescendo of nerves screaming in sensory awareness, she was afraid.”
At least Peter started out well. He obeyed the Lord and got out of the boat. He was willing to walk with Jesus on the water. But notice what happened when he “saw that the wind was boisterous.” He focused on the storm…and what happened? He began to sink. Can you relate? Poor Peter. He got what was coming, right? Too bad for Peter – he had his chance and he blew it.
But notice, and this is important, Jesus didn’t abandon him! Remember the words of Matthew 14:31:
“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””
So, dear sister, why do you doubt? Do you not know that your Lord will be there in the midst of the storm to immediately stretch out His hand and catch you? There may be a rebuke in there, but He’s never going to let you sink (Heb. 13:5-6).
I don’t think the answer to overwhelming days is to “try harder” to get it all done. I’ve tried that, and it just seems to cause me to focus more on the storm, to get more overwhelmed, and to sink with a heavier load. I think the answer is to “look full in His wonderful face,” and to pray for more faith. “Lord…help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Lord, “increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)
Matthew Henry comments on this section of Scripture by showing how Jesus trained the Disciples up “by degrees to live by faith, and not by sense.” That’s what he’s doing with us. He’s training us. I don’t’ want to buck the training. I want to accept it and grow from it. How about you?
Matthew Henry reminds us that “though troubles and difficulties may disturb us in our duty, they must not drive us from it; but through the midst of them we must press forward.”
As we humble ourselves, keeping in mind how big and holy He is and, in comparison, how powerless, small and, yes, sinful, we are, He revives us. He causes us to dwell with Him in that high and holy place–that peaceful place in the midst of the storm.
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones…” (Isaiah 57:15)
Sometimes it’s the very trials and weariness that we’re experiencing that God is using to mold us—to stretch us—and even to strengthen us. Even if he doesn’t relieve our trials right away, we must have faith that He will give us what we need to persevere through them.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
If God can make the sun and the moon and the stars, surely He can equip us to complete all that needs to be done, all that He calls us to do, including training our children for His glory.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9