My three-year-old daughter often tells me “Mommy, I wuv you just the way you awr,” and she really does too. She is a HUGE mommy’s girl! It does not matter if I just disciplined her, expressed disappointment to her, or held her because she was sad. She always exclaims, “I want Momma!!” in ALL of these instances. Sometimes it confuses me, because it would make sense for her to cry for someone else especially after she is disciplined by me, (and Daddy would especially appreciate this). But, it is always the same, “I want Momma!!” Sometimes, this expression even comes with pointing at me until she feels my embrace.
You see, my daughter loves me- not just in the good times but the bad times as well. In her little rebellious heart, she so longs for reconciliation and to be reminded that she is loved, forgiven, and cherished. I feel like this is so often the case with us. When we stray from Christ—try to do things our own way, resent something He allowed to happen, or question His authority—our hearts hurt and yell within us to be reconciled to Him. Unfortunately, we do not always run to Him with open arms in these circumstances as my daughter does. We often push God away or mask our hurt with busyness. We are so fearful of exposing our sin that God already sees, but He so lovingly waits for us to allow His warm embrace. Though it is beyond our understanding, our Savior so longs to forgive us.
How do we not stray in the busyness of our lives? We do as Peter did in Matthew 14:27-29 and keep our eyes on Christ. Yes, I know how the next verse goes, but I just want to linger here a little longer. Peter deserves so much more credit than he is given for having such great faith in Christ that he asked to walk on water! In this instance, I think I would be more like “Are you sure it is you, Jesus? Can you come join us in the boat? What are you doing over there in these crazy winds?” For Peter to ask to come to Jesus as his first words to Him after conformation of it being Jesus is HUGE. Peter has great faith and with his eyes on His Savior, he longs to be close to Him even if that means walking on water. It amazes me that Peter does not ask Jesus to calm the winds, clear the water of sharks, or lend him a flashlight. No, he just truly longs to be with Jesus whatever that looks like. I want great faith like Peter where I long to just be with my Savior every single day of my life. Of course, we know how the next verse goes in Matthew 14:30. Peter gets distracted, because he looks around at the world. We do this every day. I know I do, especially when the worries of today seem so much bigger than I can comprehend.
Recently, that looked like almost losing my dad in a motorcycle accident and spending much time with him and in prayer in the ICU. It was a sudden shock to me, but it did not surprise God. He knew it was coming, and He embraced me all the way through it. I am so thankful we serve a God that will walk with us through the deepest, darkest valleys (Psalm 23:4). He loves us so much. It is a constant battle within me to keep my eyes on Christ, but I have found that it is so worth the fight. Matthew 14:31-32 is so comforting to my soul. Let us read these verses together:
“31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”
I am so thankful that my loving Savior is always there to catch me, even when my faith is wavering! His mighty hand is reaching out and longing to take mine. I am so thankful that when I do reach out to grab His hand, He does not scold me or make me relive my shortcomings. He lovingly takes my hand, draws near to me, and embraces me in His arms. I love how verse 32 tells us that the winds died down once Jesus was in the boat with them.
No matter what storms we have in our lives, all is at peace when Jesus is near. Let us run to Him.
Oh, to be like a child who RUNS to our Daddy, not only when we are full of joy but especially when we are hurting or disappointed in ourselves. May we fix our eyes on Him free from distractions, and may we point to Him until we feel His warm embrace. For His grace is enough, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). Praise God we are not made to carry the burden of guilt. For His yolk is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30). I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot more promising to me!
Will you strive, with me, to run to Jesus just as Peter did, despite the circumstances around you?
Oh God, humble our hearts that we may be still and know that You are God. Help us to be quick to run to You with open arms, especially when we stray. May we not isolate ourselves or strive to carry the burden alone but take on Your light and easy burden. Thank You for giving us eternal hope that we never deserved. Thank You for always reaching out your hand, just as you did with Peter, and so lovingly waiting for us to come to You. May we love You and others selflessly, patiently, and purposefully just as You love us. Amen.
P.S. For curious minds like mine, my daddy is alive and well. God gave us a miracle and is COMPLETELY healing him, despite what the doctors said. After over 15 surgeries, he just completed his last two (hopefully) last week! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! You can read more about his story here.