The start of a new year always brings with it a measure of optimism. We get to turn the page, write new goals, plan for new opportunities, and perhaps take a fresh look at the important unfinished things of the past year. But, in the midst of your enthusiasm do you ever feel a cold wind of discouragement? As you look at the new year opportunities all you can see is challenge. Perhaps you feel the cold winds of a strained economy or maybe you feel the cold winds of a job layoff, or maybe you feel the chill of your own personal limitations and failed relationships. In the midst of all these blustery thoughts you think, what really will be different in this new year?
So what do you do in the midst of these icy thoughts? Like the saints of old, you cry out to God to rescue you by means of His Word and Spirit! What does God do? I would venture to say in most biblical narratives you will find the Lord God thawing all our fears with the warmth of His person and His work.
Take Peter for example. In Matthew 14 (vs. 22-36) we see Christ coming to his disciples in their boat during a powerful storm. When they see Him, they are terrified. He tells them, Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid (Matt 14:27). Of course Peter wants to come out of the boat and walk on the water so that he can come and meet the Lord. The Lord invites him to come. After a few steps in this unique opportunity, he stops looking at the Lord and starts looking at the wind and then begins to sink. As he sinks into the waters he cries out, Lord save me! When Christ saves Peter, He questions the smallness of his faith and the largeness of his doubt.
Now stop the story of a moment. How would you feel if you were Peter? What would you be thinking? I know that I would feel like a huge failure. But look with encouragement at what Christ does with His weak servant. In Matthew 14 the Lord did not let little faith Peter drown. In fact the text reads, immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him . . . (14:31). He pulled him into the boat where he along with the others worshiped the Lord. The Lord is doing the same with each of us.
Oh yes, for sure, we were people of little faith last year. Oh yes, for sure, we did not do everything right during the last several months. But are we done? Are we without hope? It is over? No! Let the redemptive love and work of Christ preserved in Matthew 14 thaw the chill of your discouragement; let it calm the storms of your life. Let the reach of Christ into the storm of your life encourage you. See how Christ delivered little faith Peter and gave him the opportunity to worship again.
Seize the opportunity to worship Christ afresh. Let the words of Matthew 14:33 settle deeply in your soul, then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”