Back in June, a good friend sent me a video of something amazing. It seems an Amish farmer wanted to move his large pole barn to another place on his property. So, does he call in a moving company with heavy equipment? No! Instead he calls on about 300 of his closest friends, and they together actually lift the skeleton of the massive structure and walk it to the new location!
Viewed from a distance, the men’s black clad legs are seen standing out from the bottom of the red building as they walk in unison following the directions of a leader. It’s as if the building becomes a mammoth centipede! The video is worth downloading. For one thing, you will see the importance of “lending a hand” to a friend in need. “Lending a hand” is precisely what Our Lord does in this week’s chosen Gospel passage. A storm at sea is raging. Jesus has left His prayer place on the mountain and suddenly appears walking on the waves! When Peter catches sight of Him, He jumps out of the crowded boat onto the water and he takes a few tentative steps toward His Master. But all of a sudden, logic kicks in; awareness steps up, and Peter loses his confidence and begins to sink. Only when Jesus lends a hand to lift his friend up does the crisis end. (I often picture Jesus with a smile on His handsome Face, maybe even with an added chuckle, as color returns to Peter’s scared face as he stands solidly again.
Of course, it is the perfect opportunity for Our Lord to remind Peter that his faith needs a little updating. Some added depth. More strengthening private prayer. Naturally, the Holy Spirit wants us to ask ourselves some probing questions as He presents this well-known gospel scene. When life puts us in some “rough water” we know who we can depend on. Such “stormy seas” will come to nearly all of us at one time or another. So, do we turn to God when it happens, or do we rely only on our instinct for self-preservation? Or the cleverly concocted myth of self-reliance that we eschews help? That Amish farmer knew better with his problem.
Without belaboring the obvious, I trust that we have all learned a lot about ourselves and our dependency upon each other during these months of the pandemic, with the probability of more months to come.
Hopefully, you and I as believers have stepped up our reliance on God. We know in a brand new way that some problems are too much for our finite fiber to cope with, much less to solve. We need a helping hand. God’s is the best.
Maybe you don’t have 300 friends to call on to help solve your problem. But you do have One better than those by far. He once said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” He never reneges on a promise, and is always there to lend His most powerful Hand. After all, “problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.” ( Hugh Miller, Scottish scientist, d.1856.)
God love you and give you His peace!