Matthew 14:22-33 (NRSV)
22Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." 28Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
The winds of chaos have kept our boats rocking this year. Waves of Covid-19, economic instability, and new awareness of systemic injustice have destabilized our comfort and security. As we watch the stormy reality of chaos, it can be hard to see the God who has promised to be with us every day. Looking into the storm is frightful! Hearing a voice in the middle of the storm is terrifying!
In the midst of the storm, Peter hears a voice and responds uncertainly, fearfully, “Lord, is it really you?” His question points to a leap of faith, followed by a physical leap into the chaos to follow Jesus.
Faith is not relying on the perceived stability of the status quo but trusting in the God who promises to be with us even during chaotic times of kingdom restoration. “The point is to live everything. Live the questions now” (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1903).
O Lord, help us trust and follow you into the chaos that surrounds us. Amen.