Take Courage! It Is I – Week of August 14, 2023
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
My husband grew up in a town that is right on Lake Michigan. He’s a strong swimmer. He has great respect for the power of the water. As much as he loves the lake, he will readily admit that there are few things as frightening to him as being on the lake at night. There is something ominous about the darkness of the water once the sun has set.
Our reading today comes from the story of Jesus protecting his disciples while they were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee during a storm in the middle of the night. Many of the disciples were veteran fishermen who knew the lake and its unpredictability. They knew that storms could come up at the blink of an eye. This particular night, they had ended an incredibly full day with Jesus. He put them on a boat and sent them on their way. Likely in the middle of the night when they were about halfway across (about 3.5 miles from shore), a violent storm arose. Even as experienced fishermen, they were terrified. In the midst of the wind and waves they see Jesus coming, walking towards them. Yes—that’s a miracle with no explanation! However, his words to them are far more powerful. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Imagine the impact of those words on the disciples. They likely exhaled deeply. They may have looked at each other in relief. Jesus was there and all was well.
All of us have storms in our lives. You have storms. We all have times that may feel like sitting in a dark lake in the middle of the night. Maybe not today or maybe there is one right now in your life. The storms of life can shake our confidence and test our faith. They can leave us frightened and sometimes feeling helpless. The good news is that Jesus is there in the midst of our storms, walking alongside us. Sometimes he takes away the storm. Always he walks with us through the storm. Recall that God didn’t take away the Red Sea from the people of Israel. He parted it and was with them through it.
God has blessed you with the gift of faith. That faith is yours because of him. It was Jesus’ power and not Peter’s faith, that allowed Peter to walk to Jesus. The same is true for us. The Savior who went to the cross to remove our sins, is the one who promises to be with us in all things. We don’t have to work it out on our own. In faith, we can look up and look at our Savior Jesus who says to us, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Dear Heavenly Father, the challenges of life can be overwhelming. Please remind me to look to you with confidence knowing that you are with me always. Amen
A Hymn to Consider:
Christian Worship 21 847 “Be Still My Soul” is a timeless hymn of comfort and encouragement in the storms of our lives. It reminds us of the Lord’s protection and care each day.