November 14, 2007

Matthew 14:25-31

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

One of the many Bible stories I remember from the time... well, from the time I could remember anything, was the story of Jesus walking on the water. For some reason, when I was little, the magnitude of what Jesus did had never really settled in. Could it be that I was young and just believed that is what Jesus was supposed to do? He was Jesus. He could walk on water, scare monsters out of my closet, He was like a Superhero! Jesus talked about the faith of a child... maybe that is why. It hasn't been until recently that I have really thought long and hard about the miracles He performed. He was in the middle of performing this particular miracle, and the disciples, who knew who Jesus was, were terrified. They thought they were seeing a ghost. Why was it their initial reaction to think it was a ghost? Possibly because they had never witnessed someone walking on water before, right? I think it has always been human reaction to think in terms of fear... if we don't understand it, we are afraid of it. When Jesus reassured them that they shouldn't be afraid because it was He who was coming towards them, Peter spoke up. He wanted to believe and told Jesus to call him out to meet Him. Jesus did just that, and Peter set out. When I first analyzed this, I thought it had to be difficult for Peter to take that first step. Imagine yourself in the middle of a lake, and you're about to take your first step out onto it... how would you feel? But when I reread this passage, it does not say that Peter hesitated to get out. It says "Peter got out of the boat". This made me think, he must have had his eyes fixed on Jesus. That is how it was so easy for him to get out and walk on the water towards Jesus. However, it only took a little wind to shake him and Peter began to sink. He cried out "Lord, save me!". Did he not realize that it was his own doubting that was stopping him? Jesus called Peter out onto that water to do something that Peter could not have done on his own. If it had been Peter's idea alone, his first step would have gotten him wet. But Jesus was using him for a miracle. It was Peter's lack of faith that caused him to slip. The best part of the story is that, although Peter doubted, Jesus did not punish him for it. Instead, Jesus was right there. He reached out and caught him.

A few months ago, I feel like I was called out to take that first step. A big part of me still believes Jesus to be that Superhero I grew up knowing Him as. Maybe that is why I was so eager to step out from that boat and onto the water, for no other reason than to be that much closer to meeting Him and being part of something wonderful. It was definitely the first step on a journey that I alone could not do. There is a lot of wind around me. I am trying as hard as I can to learn from Peter, and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead of doubting Him. I know it would disappoint Him if I lacked faith... but it gives me comfort in knowing that He knows me and loves me. Just because I might start to fall does not mean He will let me go under. I believe He will be there, just as He was for Peter, to reach out His hand and catch me.

As far as my treatments go, sometimes I am torn. I have always been the first to say that my faith is not in medicine. I take the treatments seriously, but I take my devotions and prayer time more seriously. If God told me today to stop the medicine, I would. Some may not understand that, but I can safely say that because my Savior knows me. He would never ask me to do something without giving me peace about it. I don't feel He is asking me to do that by any means, but I am careful about putting to much emphasis on my trips to Illinois. He is with me as much in my own house, working in me, as He is 400 miles away. As I said, I am working to keep my eyes fixed on Him, so that my actions are not out of fear, but by faith alone.

My mom and I will be leaving for Illinois on Thursday afternoon, so we should arrive late Thursday night. I see the doctor on Friday morning and my chemotherapy will start at about 3 pm Friday. As of now, I will be trying this round as an outpatient instead of being admitted to the hospital. I should be finished on Friday night around 10 pm or so and we will spend the night at the hotel. Then, we will go back Saturday morning and hopefully be done as early as last time so we can be home Saturday night. With the time difference, it will be getting dark by 4:30 or so, so we are hoping to be able to make it through Chicago again in daylight. I will try to have my mom post an update on Sunday so that everyone knows we made it home safely. I am hoping to have a better week following than last time, since Thanksgiving will be that week. I am looking forward to having a day with my entire family present. God has given me a lot to be thankful for this year. If I am not able to post beforehand, I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

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