By: Ivonne J. Hernandez
This Sunday we will hear the famous story of Jesus walking on water (John 6:16-21). After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus went up a mountain to pray and the disciples embarked in a boat across the sea. We find the disciples in darkness. They embarked on a journey fully trusting that Jesus, who had just manifested a great miracle, would come and meet them, but “it had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.” In the midst of the darkness and the storm, Jesus shows up, but they become afraid. He then speaks to their hearts: “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The multiplication of the loaves prepared the disciples for an encounter with the Lord. It built up their trust to get on the boat ahead of Jesus. The strong wind led them to their experience of Jesus dispelling the darkness in their hearts. But to experience the consolation of hearing Jesus speak the words: “It is I. Do not be afraid”, they had to experience the darkness first. The very storm that they experienced became the place of encounter, the place of healing, the place of love.
It is the same with us. We are witnesses of many manifestations of God’s power and glory all around us. We give thanks to God and share in the joy of our brothers and sisters. But it is only when we are “walking through the dark valley” (Psalm 23), when we are experiencing fear and desolation, that we are in a position to let Jesus come in and dispel the darkness in our hearts. It is in the dark, through the tears, that we lift up our hearts and seek God. Our faith tells us He will show up; He always shows up and speaks to our hearts: “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD