From the Heart of Abigail Joy
I just got back from an awesome trip to the Creation Music Festival. It was an incredible time of worship, learning, loving, and laughter. Creation is a “Tribute to our Creator”…Christian artists and speakers come from all over to rock out for Jesus. It is a four night camping experience in the middle of nowhere in PA. I was beyond excited to go and to hang out with friends and experience one of my greatest passions…worshiping my Savior!
But inside was a fear. The weather. Storms. I am terrified of thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail…one of the many fears that I have had since I was a little girl…
The morning of the trip I had a conversation with my dear Mother…with childlike innocence I explained to her how crazy it was that I was afraid of storms…who is the author and creator of the weather? My God. So why was I giving the storm more power and strength than the awesome God I serve?
I understand this in my mind...but my heart has trouble fighting the anxiety that grows like a monster inside of my intestines.
The first day we were there was beyond anything I expected…Hands lifted high, dancing and singing along with thousands of others...celebrating the love of our God.
It was the next night when my troubles began… Midnight had come and gone as I dove into my quiet time with my Jesus and clung to these words.
Matthew 14 The Message
22-23As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
24-26Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.
27But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."
28Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."
29-30He said, "Come ahead." Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"
31Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"
32-33The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!"
This is one of those passages that we learn in Sunday school...just like the story of Noah and the ark we can recite and act out the words. But each time I dive in, new questions arise and this night I found myself lost in questions…Would I have enough courage to jump out of the boat? Have enough faith to take the step out into the rushing sea? My mind continued to wander.
Eventually I fell into a half sleep…only to be woken up an hour later. I was so restless. Anxiety started to take over. I was sharing a tent with five other girls and all of them lay sleeping…unaware of the pain that I was experiencing…tears began to form, I lost control of my breaths and I curled over…praying God would send me into a deep sleep…this is when the lightning began.
Time passed by painfully…longing for the sound of morning…the thunder began…I couldn’t sit any longer I went out into the rain to the main tent I needed air…needed to hear a voice…I wanted to run but had no where to go…my greatest fear was overtaking my heart and I had no one to cling to…I grabbed my cell phone and quickly turned it on…it was close to four in the morning…“At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.”
God is incredible…in the storms of life…there is always a lesson!
It is all about perspective. So desperately I want to jump...I want to go out into the water to be with my Jesus. I look at His Love hands. I trust. I walk on water...fears disappear. Then the thunder gets a little louder...the lightning a little brighter and I lose sight of my Savior. I look down at the crashing waves around me and suddenly I have lost sight of the One who is holding on tight. Fears overwhelm me and I cry out, "Master, save me!"
As morning dawns and the night begins to fall...the rain song disappears and the birds begin the morning symphony. I made it through the storm. Jesus didn't hesitate to reach down and hold me. He calmed my anxious heart. But I heard Him whisper, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" The question sends me to my Father's feet. Sorry for not trusting...for not believing...for not keeping my eyes on His Love. He always has a plan. I will never be without my Lord. When I leave this earth...I will still be with my Savior...why did I lose faith?
One speaker shared, "Even when the light starts fading...hope should not..." Cling to hope...
Storms will continue to rage on...I can only pray God would give us eyes for the storms...to see through them...to find grace, love...His strong hands He extends through it all...