Today is Christmas Eve. For many, that represents a joyful celebration of family – but what if a family member recently died? What if a family member recently rejected you and now there is bad blood between you? Maybe you have just lost your job or maybe you are a single adult, feeling like everyone in the world has love except you. If these storms have engulfed your life, the holidays might only worsen the pain.
Emily Dickinson expressed this loneliness and longing timelessly:
At least—to pray—is left—is left—
Oh Jesus—in the Air—
I know not which thy chamber is—
Thou settest Earthquake in the South—
And Maelstrom, in the Sea—
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth—
Hast thou no arm for Me
There is hope.
The writer Anne Lamott said her favorite prayer is “help me, help me, help me!” She reminds me of Peter who quickly went from triumph to tragedy when one moment he was walking on water and the next was drowning beneath the waves. We miss the most powerful part of that story. When he and Jesus were back in the boat, Jesus gently chided him for his lack of faith. We tend to believe He meant being distracted by the storm which caused him to sink. I think it was for thinking that Jesus would actually let him drown. After that experience, Peter never thought of the phrase “Jesus Saves” quite the same
And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him,
and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”