It is I; don’t be afraid.
So, the disciples row for “three or three and a half miles” (I love these charming details, John striving to remember accurately, and how they make it easier for us to believe in truth of these memoirs and autobiographical reflections of Jesus.)
It’s dark, the wind is blowing, the waters are rough.
And a figure looms out of the darkness, walking on the waters, approaching the boat. Understandably, they are terrified.
But Jesus reassures them, It is I; don’t be afraid.
* * *
And that is the aspect He wears too. He shows himself sometimes when it is dark, and the winds are strong, and the waters are rough. He comes towards us, a dark figure, and we cannot see his face, and we do not know his name, and we are terrified.
But it is Him, nonetheless, and face to face with the stranger in the darkness, we are to remember God’s most consistent command from first to last: Do not be afraid.
And so I will not be afraid.
* * *
A health scare has been swirling around me for the last 3 weeks. Doctor’s visits, hospital visits, ultrasounds. Two more tests next week. I google. Oh what a dreadful thing to do, and yet, how can one not?
Who is he who comes walking on the waters, in the dark, when the winds are strong, and the sea is rough? The dark figure terrifies, until he speaks, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
I will not be afraid. My next appointments are Monday and Thursday, but then I will have to wait for the results. I am not going to waste the time of uncertainty in fear, but live in trust, tasting the goodness of God.
I will taste the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
* * *
The Israelites response to the manna which sustained them was “What is it?” In Hebrew, Manna. “Tell me your name,” Jacob uncertainly asks the dark figure who disabled him. “Who is it?” the disciples wondered, terrified, as a dark figure loomed of out the storm and darkness, approaching them.
The answer was always, is always, the same.
It is the Lord.
* * *
Everything we have comes from God. He comes to us in spring and summer–and winter too. In day–and night too. In birth–and death too. In success–and failure too. In health–and sickness too.
“Yes,” I say to the figure, walking towards me on the stormy waters.
I pray that nothing will be malignant, that all will be benign. I pray for health.
But I also say to the dark figure walking towards me amidst the roaring winds and turbulent sea. “I know it is you. I have trusted you in the past and I trust you now. I know you.”
“And so, however the dice falls, I know nothing shall separate me from your love, and all shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”