Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
Over 30 years ago, I had the opportunity of studying in Israel, in fact one afternoon we studied on the banks of the Sea of Galilee in which the above story took place. I was reminded of this time a few weeks ago. Since March 17, 2020, COVID-19 has raised havoc on our world. I must confess that in the first few months, I was irritated with all the COVID procedures that needed to be implemented in my office. Then the sheer irritation of how it affected our grocery stores and our favorite restaurants. I found myself asking friends, “Do you know of anyone who has tested positive for COVID?” And I heard a resounding – NO! By the time winter rolled around, I began to hear of friends and colleagues that contracted this disease.
When Summer hit, it seemed the worst was behind us. Schools were planning to return in full force in the fall. City Impact was making plans to bring our therapists and outreach staff back on campuses. Unfortunately, by mid-August, COVID protocols were back in effect and we felt overwhelmed once again. You could say our boat was being buffeted by the waves of COVID. I found myself discouraged, but I’m the leader how am I to respond? It was as if God whispered in my ears. “Don’t be afraid – keep your eyes fixed on me.” I am not sure how long this wave will last, but I am sure that Jesus is the Son of God and He promises to be present with us during the storm.
Thank you for your continued love and prayers for our staff and the “at-risk” students and families we serve daily.
With a heart filled with gratitude,
Betty Alvarez Ham