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by | Aug 10, 2023 | Faith, Faithfulness, Fear, Presence

Immediately He [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.'” (Matthew 14:22-27 ESV)

I hate it when Jesus does this to me. No doubt you do, too. I mean the thing where He tells you to go and do something that gives you a little mild anxiety, like getting into a boat and going somewhere without Him for a few hours—and then it turns into a huge mess, and you’re stressing out wondering where He is and why would He put you through this in the first place? And just to put the cherry on top, you see something supremely scary—and scream—and suddenly He’s saying, “No, no, it’s Me, don’t be afraid!” and everything is fine again. And it really is. Except for a crazy wish to yell at Jesus for giving me white hair one more time.

Oh, I’m not talking specifically about boats here. But this kind of mess happened to me when I was choosing a career—when I was thinking about getting married—when I was expecting a child—when the church hit a rocky patch. Every time, mild anxiety escalating to overwhelming fear as things went wrong—and then, Jesus. Just Jesus, saying, “It’s Me. I’ve got you, calm down.” And I’m so glad to see Him, but at the same time, I want to yell, “Where were You?”

I’m sure He knows this. I suspect He smiles at me sometimes, knowing I want to fall at His feet and scream in His ear at the very same minute. And yet, the problem is really with me, isn’t it? If I actually trusted Him the way I wish I did, I’d not have that white hair. I wouldn’t be surprised when He showed up at the very last minute, walking on the water. I’d be like, “Oh, there You are, Lord. Having a nice stroll?” and we’d just move on. Ha! I expect to be at least 100 years old before I develop this kind of faith. Maybe 200.

Thank God He’s so patient with me. Thank God that He loves us so much that our fears and freak-outs never upset Him, that He is patient with us when we are not patient with Him. But then, He loves us-and has proved that to the uttermost, when He stretched out His arms on that cross to suffer and die for us all. He will not send us anywhere He Himself isn’t going; and when it comes to death, He’s been there before. He knows the way—He is the Way!—and He is our resurrection. And frightened as we are, the Holy Spirit will keep us clinging to Him through all our little and big fears, until the day Jesus comes to bring us safely to Himself forever.

We pray: Lord Jesus, when I’m afraid, be with me! Come quickly, please? Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on August 10, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. What kinds of things give you mild anxiety?
2. How do you seek help when things get worse?
3. When did you go through a storm in your life, and Jesus came to rescue you?