” Contrary to popular expectation, Christianity offers no simple solution to man’s problems or to the integration of his personality; it does promise the abiding presence of Christ…..There is no offer of ease, but the promise of grace for the experience.” Morris A. Inch from his book, “Psychology in the Psalms.”
As an illustration of this premise I thought of the story of Jesus, walking on the water. Matthew 14 records this for us.
“Immediately (Jesus) made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.” “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, “
The disciple were sent on ahead. The crowd which Jesus had been teaching were dismissed. Jesus went alone to be with His Father. The excitement of being with Jesus was over for now.
“…but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.”
And so the stage is set.
“And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. “
“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost! and they cried out in fear.”
It is such a natural response of men to be afraid. We are afraid of what cannot be explained. We feel secure if we can explain everything.
But this very fear is what Jesus is addressing. How?
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
First , Jesus speaks kind words to them. He wants them to see that it is indeed Him, not a ghost but a man, one of them —
and that there is great solace in His presence.
Friends, just Jesus, was enough.
But there’s more.
“And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus takes the opportunity for more comforting as Peter responds to Him by expressing even more trust.
(when Jesus speaks words of comfort, he wants us to receive comfort and be truly comforted in His words.)
He (Jesus) said, “Come.”
“So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. “
Lo and behold Peter walks on the water !
It is astounding what happens as Peter simply responds to Jesus .
But there is more.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Peter’s walk on water was a short one because Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and was responding now to the wind.
The lesson here is that whatever we give a focus to, so follows our soul: mind, will, emotions, self consciousness, conscience. Fear found a revival in Peter — O the dreadful battle for the attention of a man’s eye! A battle of seemingly equal forces, of comfort or terror, engages every beloved believer.
But there’s more.
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As a gesture of further love and trust, Jesus catches Peter, He would not let him fall entirely. see Psalm 37:23 2Tim 2:13 teaches “if we believe not yet He abides faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
Beloved, this was a demonstration of a deeper kind of love and comfort — this kind of love comforts still, even when we fail. Yes there is a presence for trying, but, a greater presence for falling, there are arms to catch us. Thank you Lord.
“And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
as even a deeper demonstration of why they could trust Him, the winds stop now.– An episode for faith building — the disciples had seen and learned much.
“And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” “Matthew 14:22-33
So, not simple solutions or personality integrations, Jesus, the person, is enough. Love ya