July 22nd 2010

A Helping Hand

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”
Matthew 14:31 (NIV)

After feeding the 5,000 Jesus went into the hills to pray and told the disciples to cross the lake by boat and meet him on the other side. A storm blew up as the disciples sailed across and Jesus came walking towards them on the water. Peter, being Peter, wanted to walk on the water too. Jesus said, “Come” and down from the boat on to the water went Peter. We don’t know how far from the boat Peter got, but he did walk on the water. Then suddenly Peter heard the wind howling, saw the waves were high, felt the spray, and for a brief moment he took his eyes off of Jesus. He began to sink. “Lord, Save me” he cried, and Jesus reached out his hand to lift him up.

Like the disciples, we often find ourselves in the middle of storms, even frightening storms; but the storms we face are not wind and waves, or thunder and lightning, but storms of financial problems, relationship problems, unemployment, illness, bereavement and other personal storms. There is a great lesson here in this storm the disciples faced, and it is that no matter what life throws at us, we should draw close to Jesus and learn to trust him because he is always there to lend a helping hand.

When Peter started to sink it was because he took his eyes off Jesus and looked instead at his circumstances—he looked at “his storm” rather than Jesus. Even though we all do take our eyes off Jesus at times, He is so loving and concerned for us that when we start to sink He will reach out His hand to save us; not to accuse us but to lift us up, just as He stretched out his hand to lift Peter up. At the crucial moment, the One who understands human weakness immediately stretched out His hand to help and saved Peter from the storm. That’s the point of this story for us, even if we do get our eyes on the storms in our lives and lose sight of Jesus, he will not let us sink; he will come with an outstretched hand to help.

God has called us to have faith in him, to trust him. He knows we’re weak, imperfect and likely to take our eyes off Him when we are in the midst of life’s storms. But the lesson here is that Jesus’ rescuing hand is just a prayer away. Jesus will not let us sink in the storms of life—he will stretch out his helping hand to save us no matter what our circumstances may be. Jesus has called us out here on to the water of the Christian life. There will be storms—but in them we can be certain we can count on a helping hand from Jesus. No matter what the situation is, he will not let us sink, we just need to do what Peter did—go to Jesus and ask for his helping hand to stop us from sinking in our personal storm.

Lord, help us always to keep our eyes on you, and in the storms of life, to reach out to your saving hand.

Study by Ray Walker 

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