Presently my father is in his last stage of Alzheimer’s. He also has cancer and heart disease. He is 78 years old. As of today, he is fully bed ridden, in and out of a coma like state, praying that the Lord will take him. His storm is about to end while the rest of us; family and friends are in the midst of it.
It's hard to see my dad like this. So helpless, in pain, and praying for God to take him. I remember him when I was young. Well, not that young as "dad" only came into my life when I was 14. My parents had divorced. My father left and to this day I have no idea where. My mom started to date Henry. Henry was so different from my birth father. He was kind, loving, caring and funny. He brought physical affection into our home (he is the best hugger), told us that he loved us (out loud, lol), and listened to my problems, disciplining me with love (versus with anger from my birth father). But the best thing he brought was Christ. You see I had been raised by a denomination that told me I had to go through someone else to reach the Lord. That I was not able to have a direct relationship with God. Yes, I feared the Lord, took communion, went to confessional, etc., but I never really understood who Christ was and why he died for me. I would eventually stop going. It wasn't till Henry came into our lives that I learned the truth.
When Henry married my mom, they committed to each other to go back to church. Now, I wish I could say I started going to church too, no, I was a teenager and that alone speaks for itself. But because they started going to church, they began to change. Their prayer life also changed. And as result of their lives changing, I was affected. Henry would grow to become my "dad" versus my stepfather. He would be the dad I always wanted. The dad that came home at night to help my mom. He would love my mom, my brothers and me in a way that could have only come from Christ. He would be the dad that would raise another man's children, not out of obligation but out of love. What an example to others. So you can see how hard it is to see him go. You can see our storm.
Peter in Matthew 14 had a similar situation; he was in the midst of a storm. Peter, the other disciples and Christ had been ministering to a large crowd. Jesus had dismissed the crowd and told the disciples to get back into the boat that had brought them to this side of the land. Jesus was going up the mountainside to pray. After some time, a storm had appeared and the boat was now far from land. Jesus would walk on water towards to the boat to join his disciples. The disciples seeing Jesus thought he was a ghost and were afraid. But Jesus told them it was him. "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water. "Come," he said. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on water towards Christ. Then Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began looking at the waves, the wind, the storm (his situation), and became fearful and started to sink, yelling out for Jesus to save him. Jesus would reach out and grab him, telling him he had little faith. They would walk back to the boat (while the storm was still going on) and then get into the boat. At that time the storm died down.
WHEN THINGS ARE STRESSFUL.... when we are put to a test, pushed towards what seems to be our limits, feeling and being in a place we have never gone before, God is there, in the midst, holding our hand, leading, guiding, and comforting us. It’s about keeping our eyes on Him. Now it doesn't mean that by keeping our eyes on Christ, the storm always goes away, it just means we aren't alone in the storm. Jesus would walk with Peter in the storm back to the boat. Some of our storms aren't going to go away immediately because the Lord wants to see how we react in the storm. It is through these storms that our faith, trust and hope is increased.
Personally, I have a tendency to get out of the boat and walks towards Christ but instead of leaving the boat, I want to take it along and the people inside, just in case I need them more than I need the Lord. When Jesus told Peter to come forth, he didn’t say and bring all your stuff with you. He simply said to come forth.
So what about you today? Does the Lord want you to come to Him in the storm? Do you want to bring your own life preserver with you? Your own means to fill your bank account find a mate, get ahead at your job, controlling your friends or family? I know it’s tempting in the storm. I know because I have done it. Yes, we need our friends in our storms but not to save us. Our friends and family are there to support us. Yes, the Lord may even use them to help us. But it all comes from the Lord first. So stop looking at your circumstances as being hopeless. Stop trying to fix things using your own talents. Look to the Lord, keep you eyes on Him and you will be able to weather the storm.
Kris Swiatocho, Director
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