Can you think of an exciting family event or activity, maybe even a really awesome football game where your underdog team pulled ahead for a fourth quarter victory? You laughed and screamed and jumped and hugged and shouted “I can’t believe it!” a few dozen times. Maybe you took the last swig of water in your bottle as the sun beat down on your flushed and smiling face. As the crowd funneled out of the stadium and you made the treck back to your car to pack up the tailgate and head home, you thought about the couch and air conditioning waiting for you and how good it would feel to take a shower and plop down for an afternoon nap. Experiencing and witnessing a miracle is wholly consuming, intensely thrilling, and equally draining.
And I think of the disciples. Freshly funneled out of the ‘fish and loaves’ stadium and onto their boat in a dark storm with bossy waves. In their miracle-buzzed and stunned state, they pressed pause on processing, and pressed into the labor of maneuvering through a storm.
You know the story. The disciples’ “boat [by this time] was already a long distance from land, tossed and battered by the waves; for the wind was against them.” (Matthew 14)The disciples were exhausted in every sense of the word when Jesus came to them. He came down from a mountain top, through the darkness, through the storm to find them, specifically. To look them in the eyes and invite them to take a step out into the watery depths of the unknown, into the safety and stability of nearness to Him. He didn’t ask Peter to go somewhere where He wasn’t already there. Jesus stood in the storm, with light and love in His eyes, and said “Come”.
Though you wouldn’t know it from their joy-filled smiles, grateful hearts, authentic humility, and incredible attitudes, I think sometimes Tarah and Eric, this faith-filled couple, feel tossed and battered by the waves of brokenness in their hearts, the weight of responsibility in their minds, the endless energy expense in their bodies. Every day they wake up and respond to Jesus’ call to ‘Come’ as they embark on the choppy waters of caring for their five children, two of which have an extremely rare terminal metabolic disease called NonKetoic Hyperglycinemi (NKH). From the moment I walked into the warm and welcoming OSullivan home, this family poured themselves tirelessly into service for one another. They spent the entire morning, as they do every day, in the kitchen preparing and feeding healing nutrition to their cherished Drake and Vivi. The tender love that they have for each other is palpable. The hope and trust in God that they cling to, visible. An undeniable faith that finds them climbing over the edge of the boat in an eagerly willing and desperate desire to maneuver any storm if it means nearness to God. This faith drives them to selflessness that I’ve not stopped thinking about since our morning together.
And I remember these wise words that ring to for them, and you:
“You may believe in God, but never forget – it’s God who believes in you. Every morning that the sun rises and you get to rise? That’s God saying He believes in you, that He believes in the story He’s writing through you. He believes in you as a gift the world needs.” (-Ann Voskamp)