Have you ever experienced a time in your life that has caused you to question, not so much the existence of God, but rather if He is present in the time of your suffering?
If you answered yes, then you and I have something in common.
Painful situations occur life and I, like many, have experienced difficult trials. Trials, I might add, that have held their share of suffering and pain.
As I have journeyed through the “shadows of the valley,” where degrees of dark vary and the feeling of abandonment conjures up fears, I have ask the questions, “Where is God? Does He know what has happened to me? Why doesn’t He deliver me? Does He even care?”
The answer to all of those questions is, yes. Yes, He knows. Yes, He cares. Yes, He will deliver and Yes, is He with you.
When we are under such stress our faith can become like a vapor, diffused and thin.
Even those who we associate with having great faith have had their vaporous moments. But it is in these moments where faith is tested and it is in the vapor where the solidity of faith is formed.
Matthew 14:22-32 shares a story of the twelve apostles. The same twelve who were called by Jesus to follow Him. The twelve we associate with having great faith. But we are reminded through a stormy event that their faith didn’t start out great. It began as a vapor.
Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side as he stayed behind to dismiss the crowd.
Among the twelve disciples were seasoned fishermen and sailors. So they obediently climbed into the boat as Jesus went off to pray.
When the boat was in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, the weather changed – drastically. The wind and waves kicked up and the boat was tossed violently by the churning water. It was an all out storm.
However, no matter how rough the weather may have been, the disciples were more terrified when they thought they saw a ghost walking toward them on the water.
Okay, I get it. They were in the middle of the sea, on a fishing boat, waves pouring over the sides, wind tossing them about and just when they thought it couldn’t get any worst, it does. Sound familiar, can you relate?
But then the “ghost” spoke, “be of good cheer!” It is I, do not be afraid.”
An excited and impulsive Peter called out, “if it’s truly you call me to come to you.”
Jesus replied, “Come to me.”
Peter jumped out of the boat and walked toward Him on the water, sinking only when he took his eyes off his Lord.
Times that deeply challenge our faith will inevitably occur. Eventually a situation will require us to trust God in times when our faith is but a vapor. But don’t be shaken. If we keep our eyes on Jesus we will not sink into the sea of despair.
We do not need to see or feel God to believe that He is with us. By trusting in Him to bring us through the valley of shadows the vapors of our faith begin to solidify and trust begins to take shape and form.
As I said before, I have walked through the various shadows of trials. I am acquainted with the feelings of abandonment and fear. And I have exercised the human factor in questioning the where-abouts of God when I haven’t felt His presence.
With that being said, I am here to attest that the very trial that I thought would be the end of me turned out to be the very catalyst of solidifying my faith.
No matter how dark your shadows seem, God is there. It does not matter if you cannot feel His presence, He is there beside you. And all the waves of the storm cannot cause you to sink if you keep your eyes on Him.
I marvel in knowing that God is with us even when we can only see Him in a ghostly vapor of His true form.