Deep

A Spiritual Journey/Slice of Life Story Challenge Offering

My Spiritual Journey group writes on the first Thursday of the month.
Margaret Simon is our hostess today.
Our theme is March Spirit Wind.

On the evening news, on the second day of March: We are entering our severe storm season…

In central North Carolina, that means tornadoes. Schools will conduct required drills next week.

Metaphorically speaking, though: When is it not severe storm season? Potentially? Consider this past year, March to March…without warning, we found ourselves in uncharted waters. We faced the unknown. We weathered the weird (monster snow in Texas?). On every side, things dangerous, destructive, and deadly threatened, still threaten, our existence.

Sometimes it seems relentless. Endless.

Sometimes our spirits fail. We grow tired. We want to trust, but we wonder if we can make it through.

So it is for the disciples, when the miracle happens.

The Sea of Galilee, almost seven hundred feet below sea level, is subject to violent downdrafts and sudden storms. On this night, the storm is fierce. It is also long; in the fishing boat, the disciples have been battling the wind and waves for nine hours. They are exhausted, physically and mentally. They know death can come for them at any moment. They are afraid. This turns to sheer terror at the vision of a figure walking on the water: “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear (Matthew 14:26).

Jesus responds immediately: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

That’s when Peter—impulsive, passionate Peter—asks if it is really the Lord out there on the waves, and, if so, then command him to walk on the water. Jesus says Come. We know what happens. Peter climbs out of the boat, starts walking on the water, suddenly loses his nerve, and begins to sink. He cries for the Lord to save him. Jesus reaches out his hand, grabs hold of Peter, and chides him for his “little faith”—I cannot help hearing an exasperated tone, like that of a parent to a child: Why did you doubt?

Here is what I find interesting: The storm is raging this whole time. The furious winds don’t stop until Jesus and Peter are in the boat together. Peter’s desire to trust is obvious. I sense his earnest belief. Peter was a fisherman; he’d seen these kinds of storms all of his life. He probably knew the Sea of Galilee was littered with broken vessels (one dating to the first century was found there in 1986). Peter loved the Lord and knew he had exactly what he needed to accomplish this supernatural feat—in fact, he asked for and was granted the opportunity—yet his human nature failed him. Why?

When he saw the wind, he was afraid (v. 30).

It wasn’t the wind that threatened to annihilate Peter. It was his own fear.

You may know the haunting song that alludes to this story. I didn’t until my musician son mentioned hearing it in a dream. My boy has faced mighty storms in his young life with exceptional courage and unfailing compassion for others, even when others haven’t treated him well. He’s one of the gentlest, bravest souls I know, constant throughout moments of deep anguish. After the death of a friend— he’s lost several, suddenly and far too early—he dreamed he heard her singing in the darkened church:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

The storm season may be severe. Relentless, exhausting, depleting. Fear’s going to run deep, sometimes. It’s natural. As natural as the wind and the sea.

Faith running deeper…that’s supernatural. A boat can’t come close to containing it.

Which I believe, in the deepest part of his heart, Peter knew.

Lyrics are to “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United, performed here on the Sea of Galilee.

The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway, meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March. This marks my fifth consecutive year and I’m experimenting with an abecedarian approach: On Day 4, I am writing around a word beginning with letter d.

Note this, in connection with “deep”: After years of drought and levels so low that irreversible damage was imminent, scientists now consider the Sea of Galilee to be nearly full.

Lead photo credit: Stormy seas. Ishature Dawn. CC BY-SA

29 thoughts on “Deep

  1. Fran, your one word awe has moved you further into your beautiful way of writing and offering inspiration to others. The story of Peter is one that holds deep spiritual value for us believers. I am so glad that you shared this scenario from Scripture and also presented the video on the Sea of Galilee. “Spirit Lead Me. Let me walk upon the waters / Wherever You would call me!” The Hillsong lyrics offer solace this morning. There is much peace in your slice. Many thanks. With faith let’s walk the spiritual journey this morning.

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  2. “My faith will stand/… And my faith will be made stronger/In the presence of my Savior.” One of the things I love about Spiritual Journey Thursday is exploring new-to-me music. This arrangement is exquisite. I love that it was recorded on the Sea of Galilee. I did not know that it’s nearly full. Thanks for your musings on deep and the reminder that faith can ALWAYS overcome fear.

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  3. I’m re-reading parts of your beautiful post while listening to the song. It is a familiar one. Thank you for such a heartfelt and beautiful post. I can imagine the shepherd reading this and thinking, yes…yes. I’m glad today is letter d. It has blessed me.

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  4. I especially loved this line: “Sometimes our spirits fail. We grow tired. We want to trust, but we wonder if we can make it through.”

    This is a beautiful post.

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  5. And just as the Sea of Galilee has been replenished, so has my soul today. This slice. You know, I kind of treat your posts like comfort food. I like to save them, and then I like to read and savor them, to enjoy the sustenance they bring. Yes. Faith. And whether or not we believe? It’s neither here nor there, for the love and the presence are always there, waiting for us both during the storms and the calm that settles between.

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    • Deepest thanks, dear Lainie. The Sea of Galilee is intriguing on so many counts – hope to see it for myself, someday. Profound truths, your observation of faith: The love and the presence ARE always there; belief or unbelief can’t erase or diminish these. How grateful I am for you and your presence – and your presents, of words. To think of mine as comfort food…that has to be one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received. Know that you’re a blessing to me. ❤

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  6. Faith is that enigmatic incredible thing that you can never properly express in words, it can disappear like dust, even though you only need a mustard seed! The ongoing struggle and strife between fair and faith, I believe that’s what life is all about…! Thanks for your post and thoughts and the beautiful song….May your son continue to stand strong!

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    • So true, your point about faith “disappearing like dust” at times – how poetic! Thank you especially for noting the connection to my son and for your good wishes. He stands strong and gentle as always, a model of kindness and compassion that awes me.

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  7. Fran, Your post was buried deep in my email. So sorry I didn’t get here yesterday. Such a rich post. The song that echoes your message.
    “The storm season may be severe. Relentless, exhausting, depleting. Fear’s going to run deep, sometimes. It’s natural. As natural as the wind and the sea.

    Faith running deeper…that’s supernatural. A boat can’t come close to containing it.”

    I am moved by your words, your amazing touch with the spirit. Thanks for being in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so appreciate these words, Margaret, and the theme you chose. I thought about it a long while. “Spirit” and “wind” kept leading me to Peter and the walk on the water; the news report about the severe weather snapped it all into focus. I had to share that song and listened to it over and over as I wrote. Thank you for being in my life as well, friend. You’re a gift in so many ways!

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  8. Each of your writings weaves different aspects of the theme together seamlessly and draws the reader in, surrounded by layers of meanings. This is beautiful. Chills came as I read the song lyrics, hearing them sung in my head. Fear is so prevalent these says, and so damaging. “Faith runs deeper” and conquers all. Thank you yet again.

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