Evening came and the boat was in the middle of the lake, but he was alone on the land. He saw his disciples struggling. They were trying to row forward, but the wind was blowing against them. Very early in the morning, he came to them, walking on the lake. He intended to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost and they screamed. Seeing him was terrifying to all of them. Just then he spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” He got into the boat, and the wind settled down. His disciples were so baffled they were beside themselves. That’s because they hadn’t understood about the loaves. Their hearts had been changed so that they resisted God’s ways.
When Jesus and his disciples had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret, anchored the boat, and came ashore. People immediately recognized Jesus and ran around that whole region bringing sick people on their mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went—villages, cities, or farming communities—they would place the sick in the marketplaces and beg him to allow them to touch even the hem of his clothing. Everyone who touched him was healed.
As I’ve explained previously, this passage means a lot to me. But I want to expand on it a little bit.
In the story before us, the disciples were in trouble on the lake and were frightened by what they thought was a ghost. Now, some people may find it silly that the disciples believed in ghosts, but how many times have we experienced things that frightened us that other’s think are silly? Some people are afraid of clowns (and, if you’ve ever seen the clown from Stephen King’s IT, those people are called “correct”). Other’s are afraid of roller coasters. Some people are afraid of dogs. Still other people are afraid of public places. Lastly, some people are afraid of failure. So, we’re all alike in that we’re all afraid of something.
What I want to address, though, is the other side of fear. That is, for me, what transformed my fear of lakes, ponds, and streams, was understanding that the Light of G_d is in all things, even the things I was afraid of. What I mean by this is if we “seek to find Christ” in our fears, I think we will be very surprised to find him there.
Of course, for most of us, this may take a lot of time. Facing one’s fears is a very courageous thing to do. It’s also one of the hardest. This is why community is so important. Even if that community is only close friend (soul friend). Having someone who can be present, supportive, when we are going through tough times is one of Life’s greatest blessings.
I remember once when I was to speak at a spiritual gathering, for some reason, I was really nervous. I’ve spoken in front of crowds, been in drama productions, played in a band, etc. So, that wasn’t it. This was different. This was leading a liturgical service. I was the one responsible for leading others in their worship experience. I was so nervous I thought I was going to pass out. A dear, dear friend noticed me. She came to me and looked me in the eye and said, “You know what? No one wants you to fail. Everyone is wanting you to succeed.” Almost instantly my nervousness left. I hadn’t ever thought of it that way before.
When we’re facing our fears, we have loved ones, people who care deeply about us and our well-being, surrounding us. With this love and support, the courage needed to find Christ in our fears is more manageable. I’m not saying it’ll be easy. I’m saying that Christ and our loved ones don’t want us to fail. They want us to succeed.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC