Originally posted in April of 2013, but with all the awful things going on in our country & the rest of the world, I needed the reminder this morning. Maybe you do too.
What a week, huh? Boston, Texas, Chicago sinkholes swallowing cars, Midwest floods, ricin-laced letters to the President from an Elvis impersonator, a bomb at a coffee shop in Iraq, and North Korea’s crazy talk. It can feel like the whole world has gone insane!
Personally, the past four weeks have been absolutely exhausting. A broken elbow, a cut head, having to find a new place to live, a broken van, a husband out of town for three of the four weeks, a busy schedule, a shooting at our local mall, school lockdowns, a husband in Boston on Monday two miles from the explosions, and now half the family has strep throat. Whew!
It can feel like everything is spinning out of control, like the bad is overtaking the good. When we’re watching the news on TV and watching the frightening scroll of our Twitter feeds and seeing link after link of scary stuff or horrific pictures on our Facebook pages, it can feel like the evil and sadness just keep coming in wave after wave.
Yesterday, as the ticker tape scroll of bad events of the past month played a continual loop through my mind, I thought – I bet this is what Peter felt like when he was walking on the water toward Jesus & then looked down!
Matthew tells about this in chapter 14. In the middle of a very frightening storm, Jesus walked on the water toward his disciples’ boat. In faith, Peter got out of the boat and walked to Jesus — until he saw the wind whipping up the waves. When he set his focus on the storm, he was overcome with fear. He started to sink.
During weeks like this – or months like this – it’s easy to focus on the storm. To feel like the bad news is crashing against us like angry waves in a storm. To feel like the constant stream of negativity is beating us down, like tornadic winds whipping around us in every direction. It’s easy to feel like we’re sinking, about to drown.
But every time I start to feel that way — every.single.time — I get a reminder from somewhere — a text from a friend, a song on the radio, a posting on Facebook, a timely passage in my daily devotion book — I get a reminder to look up. Look up. Take my eyes off the wind and the waves and focus on Jesus. And when I do, peace gently washes over me and settles into the worry-crevices of my soul. And I do not feel the waves and wind beating against me. Instead, I sense His presence. His presence of peace.
Isaiah 26:3 is one of my favorite Bible verses – You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.
When I fix my mind on Jesus, perfect peace envelopes me. My troubled soul exhales and my body relaxes.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with bad news this week? Are you watching the news and feeling frightened and worried and like evil is winning? Can you feel the waves and wind beating you down, causing you to sink?
Look up! Fix your gaze on Jesus and keep walking.