Monday, August 07, 2017

“The Presence of the Lord He Beholds” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

(The Lord said to Aaron and Miriam:) “Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in dreams will I speak to him; not so with my servant Moses! Throughout my house, he bears my trust: face to face I speak to him; plainly and not in riddles. The presence of the LORD he beholds.” (Numbers 12:6-8)

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. (Psalm 51:3a)

Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" After they got into the boat, the wind died down. (Matthew 14:28-32)

Lord, I beg for the faith to say a continual, resounding, confident yes to all You ask of me.

He asked for it. He got it. He got scared. He got saved.

In today’s Gospel reading, the disciples are terrified at the sight of a figure—could it be a ghost?—coming toward them, walking on the water. Jesus tells them it’s Him and not to be afraid. Peter—it is always Peter, isn’t it, who rushes in where others fear to tread when it comes talking with Jesus?—says if it’s you, then tell me to come to you on the water.

Jesus gives him a single word of command—“come.” Not, “come on, Peter, I will hold you up on the water regardless of how choppy the waters are or how strange this all may seem to you.” Just “come.” And Peter does, and for a few moments, it’s all glorious. But the wind comes up, and he is sure he’s going to go under. He calls for the Lord to save him. And rather than saying, “Tsk-tsk, Peter, don’t you remember what I said?” (that will come shortly), Jesus does just that, extending his hand.

This is truly one of the most human, most beautiful stories in the Gospels, and we sell Peter short and ourselves long when we laugh at the reaction of the man who will go on to be Jesus’s rock. Because you see, we are Peter. Our own prayers for trust and closeness to the Lord are answered all the time… and then we are tempted to give up the second the wind gets strong, rationalizing that we must not have understood what He wanted after all.

May we learn from Peter: When we ask for it and get it and get scared, may we not abandon the call. Like Peter, may we call out, “Lord, save me!”

Where are your doubts about your vocation? Make “Lord, save me!” your prayer today.

Image credit: Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

No comments: