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June 9, 2024

The Life-Giving Power to Be Still

Pastor KJ Kim

Psalm 104:29-35; Matthew 14:22-32

In today’s passage from the book of Matthew, we see the disciples on the boat fighting a strong headwind. What is worse, the boat is being battered by the waves and is already far from land. Yes, it seems the disciples have had a chaotic night in the middle of the stormy Sea of Galilee.

Like doubting Thomas, Peter seems doubtful about the stranger guy who walks on the lake and comes toward the boat. So, Peter tests the risen Christ—“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Peter seems to be bragging or boasting about who he is, just as Peter has already shown many times in the gospel stories, especially at the last supper, “If everyone else stumbles because of you, I will never stumble; Even if I must die alongside you, I won’t deny you.”

Honestly, I am not sure that I could totally be free from blaming him because I often act like Peter. Is there anyone among us who has never tested God—"O God, if you are who you are, show me,
prove it to me, work it for me.” Leave me no room to doubt who you are, then, I will believe. Isn’t it true that we all have got a little bit of the devil in us, asking Jesus to prove himself by doing something spectacular for us and by giving us an exemption from carrying our own cross?

Jesus might have said to Peter, “I am headed straight for you; I already told you who I am; if you had kept your seat for one more minute, I would have been sitting right next to you.” Have you ever wondered what other disciples do in this narrative? Where are they in the midst of stormy weather? Perhaps they may haul on the oars together and keep going forward.

Perhaps they may remain sitting in their position until the Lord comes to them. Perhaps they may have faith enough to stay in the boat. Perhaps the real hero of today’s passage is not Peter, who left the board in order to become an extraordinary disciple. Instead, the hero is the rest of the disciples—who never think of themselves as heroes, who never dream of putting Jesus to the test, and who are willing to row against the wind until Jesus gets into the boat with them.

We often ask God for exemption from stormy life. Yes, it may happen. However, more often, we are reminded of the gospel truth that we should seek God’s presence within our stormy situations and hard times. Then, the stormy wind may become calm and peaceful—the moment the miracle happens. God is near and still coming, not to exempt us from the storm but to be with us in the harsh realities of our lives—making us take another step in front of the other.

Thanks be to God.

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