In studying for today’s Sunday school lesson, reading in Jesus the Christ and also the accounts in the four gospels of the incident of Peter trying to walk on the water, I was struck anew by several things.
- Jesus was spending some quality time with His Heavenly Father at the time immediately preceding this incident. This was an important “recharge” for him after losing John the Baptist (one who knew and understood His Divine Mission as no one else) in such a horrible manner. Knowing the sensitivity of His soul as we do, He was no doubt grieving and seeking comfort. He was also much wearied as he had been carrying on for days, preaching and doing miracles. He was saddened that after all He had done for them, the people turned away and only His disciples remained. I don’t know about you, but all the above circumstances would give me a great need for comfort.
- When He came to His disciples at last it was “the fourth watch of the night” (the last watch before dawn) and they were wearied and terrified after a night spent trying to keep their boat together and fight the storm. But more than one account says that they had hardened their hearts against the Savior, and so, in addition to His need to pray, he left them in a situation where they would learn humility by trying to do everything by themselves. How many of us fight the battles of mortality that threaten to destroy us, completely forgetting the enabling power of the Atonement, given by Christ specifically for our aid in these moments, or even years.? A few nights ago, I was experiencing my worst fear—total abandonment. I cried for hours, before remembering the Savior. My prayers changed. I asked to feel His love, calm, and sweet peace. I was still, and let Him be God. My fears left me and I was quieted and filled with sweetness. I didn’t not dwell on my fears any longer, but instead dwelt on that comfort until I drifted off to sleep. Two days later, mortal relief came. But during that time I was sustained by the Savior and His enabling power. The last watch of the night is the time we need to be wary of. We can be worn out. We can be hardened. But the answer is ALWAYS turning to the Lord.
- The irony of the situation is, that as we are right in the midst of our own private miracle, we look down instead of keeping our eyes on the Savior. We sink! We are babies in understanding the power of the Lord and in exercising our faith in Him. We like Paul need to learn that we can do all things through the power of Jesus Christ which strengthens us. “
Don’t look down. Look up. Remember Elder Holland’s counsel: “Chirst knows the way up and He knows the way out. He knows the way, because He is the way.” (“Broken Things to Mend,”) April, 2006 General Conference.) As soon as you lock eyes on the Savior, don’t consider your mortality. Consider yourself enabled by His power. Anxiety overcomes faith. As Paul counseled, “Cast not away therefore thy confidence.” Even in the fourth watch of the night, He will come to you, and rescue you, if you still maintain faith in Him.