God On the Mountain

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Another year (2015) is coming to a close.  Remember fifteen years ago??? We were told doomsday was around the corner and our computers would crash.  The “experts” in Silicon Valley just could not possibility know if our computers could read 2000!  What a scam!  Remember seven years (2008) ago? Our world was shattered by an economical crash that still has lingering effects. Remember two years ago?  Words such as racism, political  correctness, and marriage had totally different meanings.

For better or for worse, the world is still spinning on it’s axis. What will 2016 bring?  Someone asked me that question today. I said, “I do not know but there is one thing I can tell you with certainty. We are in for an unprecedented nasty political season.”  It makes me shutter to think of what we are going to have to endure the next eleven months.

This evening my mind wandered to a true story about a terrible storm.* The disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in the wee hours of the morning when a huge storm unleashed its fury on them. Jesus was not with them as He had gone into the mountains to pray by himself. The disciples were exhausted and afraid as the waves tossed them helplessly in the middle of the sea. Suddenly, they catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure walking on the water. They screamed with fear and gasped in terror, “It’s a ghost!”  What else could it be? No human walks on walk in the middle of the sea. Jesus speaks to them above the roar of the storm and says, “Be of good cheer (be happy). It is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter stammers out, “Lord, if it is (really) You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And Jesus responds, “Come” (Come on Peter. Come to me).  Without hesitation, Peter swings his legs over the edge of the rocking boat and takes a few steps on the rolling sea.  Suddenly a lightning bolt slices through the blinding rain and Peter sees the monstrous wave rolling over the turbulent sea towards him.  Thunder crashes.  Peter instantly is intensely aware of the storm and sees his impending doom. As he sank into the sea he cries out, “Lord save me.”  Jesus instantly reaches out and firmly grasps Peter’s outstretched hands.  Together they walk through the storm back to the boat.  Peter is now walking with confidence.  And then, there is peace. Dead quiet, instant stillness.  The calming, serene, divine presence of Jesus brought them to their knees in worship.

To be honest, I sometimes feel like we are in the midst of a huge storm that is threatening to destroy our very existence. My faith trembles like Peters as I hunker down against the raging wind and shield my face against the biting rain. The noisy clang of political pundits threatens to drown out the calm voice of Jesus gently calling, “Come…walk in the storm… come to me…. do not be afraid…. I will walk with you…I am your peace.”

Where will my eyes focus?

Our pastor has reminded us several times lately. “As Christians, we know how the story will end. We do not need to fear.”  In other words, in the midst of troubling, uncertain and even destructive times, our security, our hope, our faith, our trust is in Jesus.  Jesus has told us with his own words that this world will one day come to an end. But before it does, there will be a terrible time (storm) of war, pestilence, earthquakes, lawlessness, corruption, evil and persecution of Christians. But in the end,  He (Jesus) will return and take all believers, all who keep their eyes focused on Him, to that grand and glorious place He has prepared for us-heaven (Matthew 24).

Some of the last words of Revelation 22 are an invitation to “come”.  I have a choice.  Which will I choose? Do I focus on the storm and coward in fear?  Or, do I trust Him and reach for His outstretched hand?

The storm is raging….

  • Social media slanders, belittles, intimidates and destroys
  • Terrorists stalk our comfort zone paralyzing us with fear:  killing, intimidating and destroying
  • Monstrous storms rage across the globe
  • Love is hate and hate is love
  • Truth is evil and evil is good
  • Political rhetoric spins out of control
  • Political correctness squelches freedom
  • Corruption, immorality and injustice are winked at
  • Respect for authority is mocked
  • The right to life is mandated by “personal rights”
  • Riots, killings, war, and lawlessness of every imagination

….the lightning bolts are striking close and the thunder is booming. The boat is rocking perilously, threatening to capsize.  Do you see a “ghost” on the water?  It is really the Master coming to calm your fear. Don’t take your eyes off of Him.

I love the song God On the Mountain”.

Life is easy when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind like you’ve never known.
But then things change and you’re down in the valley.
Don’t lose faith for you’re never alone.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

You talk of faith when you’re up on the mountain.
Oh but the talk comes easy when life’s at its best.
But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptation
That’s when faith is really put to the test.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day is still God in the night.
The God of the day is still God in the night.

Author Unknown

In several hours the ball will drop in Times Square and bells will chime as we welcome 2016. It will be a new year with the inherited problems of today.  There are many things about the future I do not understand, but, I know who holds my hand.

Happy New Year!

* Three of the gospels record this story: Matthew 14: 22-33, Mark 6:45-52 and John 15:21.

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