Bonjour, mes amis! I pray each of you is well and continuing to keep warm :-). My friend Blaire and I are finally beginning to defrost after ringing kettle bells for the Salvation Army outside a grocery store this afternoon — It probably goes without saying, but I am a huge wuss; anything below sixty degrees is frigid to me!
You can bet I wouldn’t have been standing outside in the blustery wind ringing a bell ad nauseam had it not been for the purpose behind it all, that is, that the money stuffed into the Red Kettle helps feed and clothe families in need. I guess it sort of goes back to what I was talking about yesterday in that trials, when seen through faithful eyes, can be filled with the purest essence of joy.
As I wrote yesterday, my struggle to seize control over my eating and exercise habits had no Red Kettle, so to speak. There was no hope to cling to as I stood out in the cold, no assurance that this temporany time of discomfort would reap a reward for my faithfulness. The only person I was relying on was myself, and her healing abilities were proving less than satisfactory, to put it mildly.
I remember waking up in the middle of a normal night, normal save for the fact that I felt unusually…far away. Far away…I know that sounds vague, but it’s truly the clearest way I know to describe the sensation of distance I felt between myself and reality, myself and my spirit, myself and God.
It was 3 something in the morning. I’ve since read and heard quite a bit concerning this mysterious time of the morning. Between 3 and 6am is referred to as the “fourth watch” in the Bible, and it was during this time that Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee during a formidable storm (Matthew 14:25). What is particularly interesting to me about this story, apart from the whole walking-on-water thing, is the purposeful mention of the “fourth watch” and the fact that the disciples had been on their own for hours battling a storm as Jesus prayed on land by Himself, choosing to appear to them at the darkest hour of the night, just before dawn. In other words, He calmed the storm at the end of their struggle.
We know the famous words Jesus spoke to Peter as He stretched out His hand, lifting him out of the merciless waves: “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” God allowed Jesus’ followers to struggle so that they might be humbled (at least that’s one reason). He allowed them to fear for their lives so that they would see they had nothing without Him. I believe that night in my bed was my moment in the waves, the moment I looked up and locked eyes with Jesus and grabbed His hand.
I prayed the rest of the “fourth watch,” until dawn broke and the dark clouds dissipated. Why did I, like Peter, ever doubt Jesus’ faithfulness to see me through the storm?
“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.” – Psalm 34:19