First, I want to thank everyone again for the messages, the visits, and the attendance at my father’s funeral. I know many of you couldn’t make it for various reasons, and that is ok. I appreciate that my family and I were in your thoughts and prayers. People have been asking me how I’ve been doing so far, and quite honestly I am doing ok. It has been very encouraging to see and feel the whole community of God surrounding and supporting us, and to know that we are not alone in this whole thing.
Because I’ll be honest, it has been a difficult road. And I know I didn’t have it all that bad, but I was surprised with how hard it was for me.
Being a pastor and all and having experience in walking with others through their grief, you would think that I would be a bit more prepared for things like this, but I really don’t feel like I was. I was asked (through someone else actually), how pastors or people of faith handle death and if it is different because of our beliefs. While we do believe in what we do in terms of death and life and all that, it doesn’t take away the real and natural emotion that comes with death.
The sadness, the pain, the feelings of emptiness and loss… it all surrounded me to the point where I felt like I was drowning…
And I guess that is where our readings for next week come in. They are:
You have undoubtedly heard sermons based on this gospel passage before. I am willing to bet that you have heard how this story describes how we must lean on and have faith in Jesus to be able to “walk on water”. I am sure that you’ve heard it said that it was Peter’s weak faith that caused him to sink.
But I actually think it wasn’t his lack of faith that made him sink, it was the fact that unless the water were frozen, anyone would sink if they tried to walk on it.
It is natural. It is scientific. It is just what happens according to the laws that govern matter and gravity.
I don’t think Jesus said that Peter has little faith because he was sinking, I think Jesus said that because Peter was afraid.
Because really, what is there to fear when you see Jesus literally within an arm’s reach? What is there to fear when you know Jesus can weather the storm? What is there to fear when Jesus reaches out to you and grabs you just as you feel like you are drowning?
In the chaos and tumult of the storm, God is present with us. In the quiet whispers of our doubt, God is there. In everything that we do and all that we are, God is there, holding us, lifting us up, and showing us a love that surpasses all comprehension.
I know life can get rough at times. I know we can be caught off guard with our emotions and feelings. I know that feeling like the world is closing in around us and we are just drowning in our hardship and grief.
But I also know that God is present in all of that. Reaching out to us with a helping hand full of grace, mercy, and peace. That even in our worst fears, we can grab a hold on that strong hand and rely on it to carry us through whatever it is that we are going through. Truly, this is God’s promise to us!
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!