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 the truth of these memoirs of Jesus.)
It’s dark; the wind is raging; the waters are rough.
And a figure looms out of the darkness, walking on the waters, approaching the boat.
And they cannot see his face; and they do not know his name
And understandably, they are terrified.
* * *
Who is he who comes walking on the waters, in the dark, when the winds rage, and the sea is rough?
The dark figure terrifies, until he speaks his name, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
And that too is the aspect He sometimes wears. He appears when it is dark, and the winds are strong, and the waters rough. He walks 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: Do not be afraid.
And so I will not be afraid.
I shall 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 figure looms out the storm and darkness, approaching them. Or, “Manna.”
The answer was always, is always, the same. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in success or in failure, in rich friendship or loneliness.
It is the Lord.
* * *
Everything we have comes from God. He comes to us in spring and summer–and in winter too. In abundance—and in scarcity too. When life is easy—and when it’s excruciatingly hard.
“Yes,” I say to the dark figure walking towards me amidst the roaring winds and stormy 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.”