The light was so near I could almost grasp it. I sensed the end to a long season of stress and difficulty and was ready for smooth sailing, Christmas decorating and time with family. Then my son got sick.
Unfortunately his health was only the beginning of the turn toward Grinchville and by the end of the week water and sewage was bubbling up into the bathtub every time I did the laundry. I could feel my attention slowly diverting from the joy and the wonder of the holidays and toward the muck.
I turned to the news. The internet was filled with terror and finger pointing, the ground underneath me seemed a little shakier.
Where do we look to find solace? When peace seems like an unrealistic ideal and you’re not sure it’s safe to take a shower in your house, where do you seek comfort?
Often, I place my hope in results. Which is why the light at the end of a few hard months was so comforting. Even though I couldn’t bathe in it yet, I could see it. But then it drifted further away.
Or did it?
I tell myself, “Once the kids are completely healthy, the bank account is full and the house is in order, I will stop worrying.” The only trouble is, it never quite works like that, does it? Even when we reach those mountaintops, we find there isn’t much life up there. And it isn’t long before we’re headed into another valley.
As I was reading through the story of Peter’s walk on the water this week, there were two facts which stood out to me. First, Jesus doesn’t calm the storm when he calls Peter to get out of the boat. No, Peter has to walk toward him in the middle of the storm. Two, Peter succeeds until he takes his eyes off Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
Matthew 14:30-31 NIV
Peter’s outcome was not determined by the absence of the storm, but the presence of Jesus.
And the same is true for us.
If we go through life with thinking our lives must be trouble-free in order to thrive, we will never experience faith. We will live in a constant state of waiting and miss the opportunity to grow right here in the now.
The writer of Hebrews tells us faith is not the evidence of things seen, but unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) This is where our hope lies, friends. And when our world becomes shaky and our surroundings tinged by evidence of our dark enemy, we must focus on the Author of that hope.
Our anchor is in Him, not the chaos around us. We can take comfort in knowing when we ache, the One who suffered and bled is aching with us.
And the more I bask in that truth, the more I realize the Light never moved. I simply mistook the light for a set of circumstances. But lucky for me, God’s glory isn’t dependent on my notions of “the good life.” It goes beyond anything I could ever think or comprehend.
Sometimes to find his Light we need only to be still.
And as we warm ourselves in the weight of it, we realize it was there all along.