Lately I feel like I’ve been spinning. Let me backup a little bit. Just a few short days ago I moved into a dorm room to start my freshman year of college 1,707 miles away from my hometown. Let’s just say, it’s been an adjustment. There are so many words and thoughts tangled together in my brain to describe how I’m feeling, but the only one I keep coming back to is spinning.
I think big life events cause big winds to come. Whether the event is good or bad, there are new things to learn, get acquainted with, and figure out. It is with all of these adjustments that the big winds come in and start to swirl around us. They often swirl us with fear, insecurity, with doubt, with frustration, and with so many other emotions. If you’re anything like me, these big life winds make you want to hide under your covers until all of the craziness in over. But God has different plans for us. God doesn’t want us to retreat inside of ourselves and hide, He wants to be that refuge for us. He wants to give us rest and peace in moments such as these.
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.”
I can’t help but think about the story of Peter walking on the water with Jesus and a book I recently read by John Ortberg entitled If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. Pretty convicting book title, am I right? In Matthew 14, we find the disciples in a boat when the wind suddenly picks up. Jesus then walks on the water to meet them in the storm and invites Peter to do the same. So, Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk on the water. Then this happens:
“But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
In this moment, we see that when Peter takes his focus off of Jesus, he isn’t able to keep walking on the water; he sinks. The same idea is true in our lives. Even when our lives get windy and we feel like we’re spinning out of control, we have to keep our focus on Jesus. When we don’t, we start to sink. Another thing I love about this verse is that immediately after Peter does begin to sink, Jesus reaches out and saves him. Our God is not a distant God. Our God stands in the storm with us and is ready to help us in times of need. I also love that this passage emphasizes that Jesus has the power to calm the wind, but He chooses the right moments to do so. He could have calmed the wind before He began to walk into it, but instead He chose to walk in it Himself and chose to invite Peter into this beautiful moment of courageous faith.
I believe that God wants to invite each and every one of us into moments like this. I believe He has walking-on-water, defying-all-odds types of plans for each and every one of His children. Unfortunately, it’s not always going to be the easiest path to take, but it will be the most fulfilling and life giving. God recently called me out of the boat, and let me be the first to say that it is okay to sink. God knows we aren’t perfect and that we are going to slip up, but the good news is that He is right beside us when we do, holding our hand. Please hear me as you read this: if you feel like your life is spinning in a million different directions and the winds of life are too strong for you to bear, focus your heart, soul, and mind on Jesus Christ.
There are two types of “life-spinning” that I believe we experience: spinning out of control and spinning with grace. I can guarantee that when we don’t focus our eyes on Jesus, we will feel like we are spinning out of control. However, when we do fix our eyes on Jesus, yes we may still have crazy, dizzying circumstances, but we can spin gracefully. We can spin with complete focus on our Savior who is our refuge in the storm; who is peace.
God is by your side, He will never leave you amidst your storm. Keep your eyes on Him.