DAY NINE: do not be afraid

"But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'"

Matthew 14:27

Read

Matthew 14:22-33

Reflect

This passage hit home for me in two ways. The first is that Jesus took a break and needed to be alone and refresh Himself in time with His Father. When reading about Jesus, all the miracles He did and teachings He gave at this time in His life, He took time to make sure He was still in a right relationship with God. He focused on where He needed to be to help others.

The second way convicted me in my own relationship with God. If I'm honest, there have been times in my life where I have been low, and my faith was not as strong or as secure as it should be. In my life, when I have needed God's strength and love I have felt it in a real and tangible way.

Mike and I lost our infant son, Zachary, in 1997. The pain, questions and hurt echoed in my heart, but I always felt God's hand and love in the whole season of grief. My pain and sorrow was there but I could reach Him in it all. Then, in 2000, our twins Isaac and Jacob were born at 23 weeks. My faith was shattered. I was in the storm, I could not keep my head above the water, and my strength to swim was gone. It was then that I felt Jesus reach down to me and lift me and bring me to Him. My strength was gone, my faith was weak and my spirit was angry and lost. But He never left me.

All my 'good works' - going to church, reading the Bible, being raised in a loving Christian home - did not save me in my storm. Jesus saved me; Him and Him alone. I am so thankful to serve a God that is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough that He is my all. That faith, small as it was at that time in my life was all that was needed to bring my Jesus to me. Not by works, but by faith alone were are saved.

- Rachel DenBleyker

Reach Out Challenge

Jesus saves us from our storms. Take a moment to reflect on a time you experienced a storm in your life. Where was Jesus present in your storm? Now think of someone you know who is experiencing a storm. Reach out to them today.

Pray

God above, you created the whole world. You rule over the wind and the waves. And you love us. Thank you for coming to us and saving us in times of trouble. Help us to rest in the knowledge that Your presence is with us. Amen.

Reflect

In your journal or a blank sheet of paper, draw or write your thoughts.