Something I’ve noticed lately is the overwhelming number of people who are seasonally depressed. Winter hits, Christmas draws near, and they are less motivated to do…well, anything. They withdraw into themselves.
If I’m not careful, I fall into this category myself. I think everyone has experienced this at some point. We battle the weather, and that drains us. We fight through crowds to get that last perfect gift for the family member we see only once or twice a year. We realize we miss those we love, and we remember those who are no longer with us. We spend our time gift-giving while our hearts resent the reduction in our bank accounts.
All of it is exhausting. None of it is what we’re meant to feel. But what do we do about it? How do we avoid it?
In Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus walks on the water through a fierce windy storm. Peter decides to walk toward Jesus, but when he sees the storm, he becomes afraid. He’s distracted, and he begins to sink. Check verses 29-31: “…Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward 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,” (NIV).
Jesus immediately catches Peter by the hand. Jesus shifts Peter’s attention. And he does not let him sink.
Only then, when Peter and the other disciples are focused on him, do the winds begin to fade. Once they were looking at him, the distractions – the wind and waves – no longer held any power over them.
He was all that mattered. And his peace overcame their fears.
Afterwards, they climbed into the boat and worshiped him. They recognized that Jesus is more powerful than any circumstance that comes into our lives.
When we’re focused on the storm, on life and its distractions, on our feelings and our responsibilities, our wants and needs and passions and desires, we no longer see clearly. The wind whips up and we’re caught in the waves.
In those moments, in the middle of struggles with family and jobs and school, in the midst of hardships and silent moments, in the noise and the hectic jumble of everyday life, we must focus on Jesus. He is the calm in the midst of our storm.
Give your relationship with Jesus priority. Trust that he will catch you and lift you above the waves. Pray and talk with him about your concerns, your joys, your needs, and your desires. He wants to hear from you. Today, take ten minutes from your schedule to spend time with him.
The wind and waves may still be there. You may still get wet, like Peter did. But the Lord’s first priority is not calming the storm. It’s catching hold of you.
Call out to Jesus and he will be there. Tune out the distracting wind and rain and press toward the calm eye of the storm. Peace comes when Jesus is our focus. And the only real peace we have is in him.