This is the 2nd of a 31 part series called December, 31 Days of Blessings in which each day for the month of December I will (hopefully) experience something throughout the day, or previous day, that is a blessing to me in some way.
The Reassurance of Faith:
A number of years ago I bought two paintings by Brian Jekel that have adorned my living room and which continue to bless me each time I take the time to stop and just let them speak to me. One of them is of the story of Jesus walking on the water, as recorded in Matthew 14:22-30, which is also a story that is known as Peter's reassurance of faith.
This is a story all of us know well. It is one of the childhood stories that grandma's around the globe teach to young children in Sunday schools. Often times this story is all but forgotten by the time we get around to the Last Supper and the chilling story of the denial of Peter, were Peter denies Christ three times between the last supper and the time of Christs death.
Both of these times, in both of these stories, Peter had his faith tested to the ultimate point, and both times his faith proved insufficient and Peter faulted. And remember that this was the man that Christ said was the rock, the petra, the kipha. The most rock solid disciple he had. This is important to remember, because even if the most devote follower of Christ could stumble at times, if the man who pushed forth the gospel to the ends of the earth, if the man that sat at the side of Jesus could have faith issues, it should surely give us just a bit of extra assurance for when we falter too.
Yet both times that Peter realized his faith was being tested, he reached out his hand to Christ and was strengthened once again.
The painting I have hung on my wall was just another painting until one day I realized just how far away from the boat Peter was before he started to sink, before his faith faulted. It was not like he just stepped out of the boat and his faith failed. He gave it an honest go at it and for a long time his faith held strong. As I walk past this painting I try to find a bit of extra faith, extra assurance, that even in those times when I do falter, when I do start to sink, when I do start to question my faith - there is a hand reaching out to me to grasp me, to hold me tight, to tell me that I am still loved.
I love the picture and to tell you the truth, I needed to see it and read this blog today.
This particular story has a great deal of meaning for me. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I recalled how God had brought this story to mind less than two years earlier as I was drifting off to sleep. I was suddenly "startled" awake as I felt like the room was tipping and rocking. I clung desperately to whatever I could to try to keep from "falling". I remember thinking that Jesus was out there somewhere and if I could only see Him, I could go to Him and I would be safe. There was a problem however. Try as I might, I could not catch a glimpse of Him. The waves were too high, my "boat" would suddenly dip down. I couldn't see Him.
In despair I cried out, "I want to come to you but I can't see you!"
The answer that came back burned in my heart. "But I can see you." I climbed out of the boat.
The journey has not ended yet but once again I have been reminded that even when I cannot see Jesus, He can see me and He will not allow me to sink beneath the wind and the waves.
[quote]As I walk past this painting I try to find a bit of extra faith, extra assurance, that even in those times when I do falter, when I do start to sink, when I do start to question my faith - there is a hand reaching out to me to grasp me, to hold me tight, to tell me that I am still loved.[/quote]
I loved reading all of this blog, John, but the ending lines above especially spoke to me of the great need that each of us has for [b]"that hand"[/b] to reach out to us in times when we falter, start to sink, or question our faith. Thank you so much for this series. It is truly going to be a "blessing!"
Yup, I like this.