John 6:18-20 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” (NIV)

I don’t know anyone right now who isn’t worried about the future because of the war in Ukraine. We’re all hoping and praying that it doesn’t escalate because it’s the nearest we’ve been to a nuclear conflict since the 1960s. The threat of such destructive hostility is hampering our recovery from Covid. Just when we thought that we could get back to normal, we’re faced with another dangerous issue.

The fear that we’re carrying within us is both stressful and exhausting. We’re getting through each day as best as we can, but we just don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Most of us have probably given up watching the news and cocoon ourselves by binge watching favorite movies or some new series just to allow our minds to escape from what’s happening in the world. Everything seems to be up in the air and, as Bob Dylan once prophetically sang, the answer is blowing in the wind. When will we ever learn, indeed!

As I personally reflect on this, I think about God’s timing. Here we are at a time when our churches are at last being opened fully, in the midst of another European war, and an impending global storm. Our sanctuaries have always been safe places in times of unrest, so is God inviting us back to gather together in Christ’s presence, so that we can support one another and get through this bewildering time?

Just like the disciples of old, we’ve been rowing hard on our own to get through these rough waters and fearful waves, but we haven’t made any headway. We need Christ to come alongside us and get into this rocky and leaky boat we call church in order to find the strength, peace, and calm that we all need.

As we struggle with our present difficulties, it seems to me that Christ is calling all of us to clamber back onboard His ship and trust Him to set the course through these troubled times. His reassuring words are given to us to extinguish our fears: “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be alone any more, using up all of your strength and carrying all of your burdens on your own. Come back to church, wherever you are, and let Jesus comfort and strengthen you.

May Christ bless you and all your loved ones.