“Don’t look down!” is good advice while climbing a ladder to clean out your home’s gutters, especially if you’re not fond of heights. Looking down distracts you from the job at hand and magnifies the fear of falling. “Don’t look down” would have been good advice for Peter during a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples had set off across the lake while Jesus went up on a mountainside to pray. Later, as the disciples struggled to stay afloat, Jesus came to them walking on the water. The Lord told them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” At Peter’s request Jesus said, “Come.” Peter climbed out of the boat and began walking on the water to Jesus. Matthew tells us, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him” (Matt. 14:30-31). If Peter had kept his eyes on the Lord he would have been fine, even in that dangerous situation.
The Lord promises His loving care and constant presence to us too. But how often, especially in these uncertain times of pandemic and social isolation, don’t we find ourselves “looking down” at the wind and waves and dangers facing us and our loved ones. We look down and see how little we can do against an invisible virus, how little power we have over the economy, how infinitesimally tiny we are among the billions of people in the world. Looking down we are going to feel the same terror Peter had. But then let’s do what Peter did. He looked up to the Lord and cried, “Lord, save me!” He trusted Jesus to help.
The writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2-3). Instead of looking down, let’s look up and focus on Jesus. There is nothing He cannot do, no problem He cannot overcome, no illness He cannot cure. Even death could not stop Him, as we’ll hear in the sermon text tomorrow. He laid down His own life in order to win eternal life for us. No problem or danger in this world is going to stand in the way of His care for us.
Today don’t look down, but look up to the One who holds each of us by the hand, the One who will never let go until we are safely home with Him.
In His name,
Tomorrow’s service: The 8:00 a.m. Sunday service will be streamed live on YouTube and later uploaded to Ustream. Go to our website: messiahhalescorners.com for links to the service and the bulletin. The service is intended to be interactive, so join in the responsive readings, hymns, and prayers, just as though we were in church together. Even though we won’t hear one another, the Lord will. Can you think of someone whom you could invite to join us online?