By Cindy Burger
I recently met with a woman in crisis. Generally, spiritual direction meetings are once a month but in times of crisis or overwhelm, I meet more often with a directee. The word “overwhelm” is an understatement in this particular case. She spoke of at least four life traumas all in one breath. Each life trauma happened in succession at a rapid-fire pace. It was just too much.
As I listened to her story, I saw visions of wave after wave slamming her into the sandy beach. Just as she was trying to stand up and regain her footing from one life trauma, another one was right behind her. She had little time to regroup or grieve one loss before another hit like a monster wave, slamming her into the beach until she came up spitting sand. More than likely, you have been there too. There are times in our lives when it becomes too much. What do you do? Who is there to help you stand strong in the stormy waves?
It’s easy to shift our focus to the problem, the strife, the injustice or grief. It’s not always easy to stay focused on God in the middle of the storm. Matthew 14:26-31 is an illustration of losing and regaining focus. Peter and the disciples are in the boat with waves crashing all around them when they see Jesus walking on the water.
26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “Tell me to come to you on the water.” 29“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Even Peter lost his focus and began to doubt. The key word in verse 28 is, “if.” “Lord, IF it is you...” But then he cries out, “Lord save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him before he sank.
We all lose our focus at some point on our journey through life. A spiritual director can listen you into clarity. Your spiritual director can also remind you of the spiritual markers along the way, guide you on the path and help you discern whether God may be calling you to a new path.
Trust that God is with you and so are we. Reach out if you need a hand. We are here to remind you that God is with you always—even in the storms of life.