Peter and his fellow storm riders knew they were in trouble. What should have been a sixty-minute cruise became a nightlong battle. The boat lurched and lunged like a kite in a March wind. Sunlight was a distant memory. Rain fell from the night sky in buckets. Lightning sliced the blackness with a silver sword. Winds whipped the sails, leaving the disciples “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves.”
Apt description, perhaps, for your stage in life?
Perhaps all we need to do is substitute a couple of nouns . . . In the
middle of a divorce, tossed about by guilt. In the middle of debt,
tossed about by creditors. In the middle of a recession, tossed about by
stimulus packages and bailouts. The disciples fought the storm for nine
cold, skin-drenching hours. And about 4:00 a.m. the unspeakable
happened. They spotted someone coming on the water. “ ‘A ghost!’ they
said, crying out in terror” (v. 26 MSG).
They didn’t expect Jesus to
come to them this way. Neither do we.
We expect him to come in the form
of peaceful hymns or Easter Sundays or quiet retreats. We expect to find
Jesus in morning devotionals, church suppers, and meditation. We never
expect to see him in a bear market, pink slip, lawsuit, foreclosure, or
war. We never expect to see him in a storm. But it is in storms that he
does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest
Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation
worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone and residential
archway. “ ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’ ” (v.
- Max Lucado
By Scotty Smith:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Rom. 2:1-4 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, I feel “busted” and beloved at the same time this morning. The call to love others as Jesus loves me keeps driving me to you for more grace and for more power of the gospel. Meditating on this passage has convicted me about being way too selective in my love. I hoard the riches of your grace and withhold them from people desperate for your kindness. I’m not an equal opportunity dispenser of your mercy and compassion.
Father, I am quick to shower the riches of your kindness, tolerance, and patience on people whose brokenness, struggles, and issues are similar to mine. But I can be condescending and judgmental toward people whose weaknesses inconvenience, annoy, or offend me. Forgive and free me, Father. This attitude blatantly contradicts the gospel.
Father, it’s your kindness that leads me to repent today. I own my political-persuasion, theological-family, life-choice orientation, and personality-profile arrogance. I’m a mess, Lord, in need of a bigger, freer heart.
Jesus, you took the judgment I deserve on the cross—the fullness of God’s righteous wrath toward my sin; and now you love me with the fullness of compassion, acceptance, and delight. The greatest non sequitur in life happens when I withhold the same from others—whoever they are. Deepen my repentance and deepen my compassion for fellow broken image-bearers of God. So very Amen I pray, in your righteous and loving name.