We have a tendency to want things to stay the same. That is certainly true if things are good and going well, why would we want them to change? It is also often true when things are not so good. We would rather stay in the painful or tumultuous situation that we are familiar with than to plunge into the unfamiliar waters of something new and different.
In the Gospel story of the sudden storm on the lake, Peter at first was willing to do something very different. He was willing to jump out of the security of his boat into the stormy waters and trust that Jesus would bring him to safety. His plunge into newness was short lived. Once he was in those rough waves, even though Jesus was just a short distance away, suddenly the rocking and reeling boat that he knew seemed a safer place to be than in the unfamiliar the arms of Jesus.
Jesus asks Peter, “Why did you falter?” He faltered because he trusted the security of the boat he knew more than the unfamiliar waters of trusting that Jesus would save him. He faltered because he expected the sea to calm down instead of letting himself be calmed down. He faltered because staying in the rocking and reeling boat that he knew seemed safer than letting Jesus calm him from within to face the rocking and reeling.
This is what happens to us. We wait for the storms of our lives to calm down so that we will calm down. We stay in the familiar place of being anxious and afraid of what is going on outside of us. We are hesitant to embrace that unfamiliar place of inner peace to get us through the storms.
Most of us have faced our fair share of storms in our lives. In these days of the pandemic, we are facing storms we never thought imaginable. Surely, we want these storms to go away. At the same time, our lives of faith are not about waiting for Jesus to make the storms go away. Faith in Jesus is about trusting that he is always there to help us face the storms. It is not the about the storm calming down. It is about us calming down long enough to hear him say, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector