Life was good! Relationships and ministry opportunities were expanding; they were exciting and fulfilling my hopes and dreams. Unexpectedly, everything changed in a moment which was only the beginning of a new journey, actually a storm!
The diagnosis of cancer, followed by brain surgery, left me with the hope of 50 weeks to live. Then the radiation treatments began. First was an intense stereotactic radiation treatment; then six weeks, five days each week of conventional radiation treatments. My hair fell out; my ears and side of my head were bright red as my skin began to burn from the radiation as the treatments continued. Then the chemo treatments began. I was put on a 30-day rotation of chemo meds. Sometimes I was so violently sick that I was gasping for breath as I was vomiting convulsively. I told the doctor that I couldn’t continue and that the chemo was killing me. My life seemed like a storm with waves so high that I couldn’t see any hope and wondered where I was when I would wake up from fitful sleep. It was then that Matthew 14 came alive and meaningful to me. There were times when I was sinking into the waves of brain cancer and the cancer treatment plans. I was sinking in the waves of discouragement, depression and feeling like I was going to die at any time. The waves were high and at times I couldn’t feel or see Jesus. It was there that I cried out to Him.
That’s when Matthew 14:22-33 became so clear, so precious to me.
I learned that He was right there to grab my hand and lift me up at those times
that I found myself sinking into the waves of discouragement, depression and feeling that death
was certain. Peter got out of the boat as a new opportunity was granted to him. He actually did
the unusual, the impossible. He walked on top of water. Sometimes I’ve tried to see how far I
can go on the top of water as I ran off the side of the pool, but every time I sank into the depth of
the water. But as Peter looked at Jesus he actually walked on top of the water. It was only as he
began to look at the growing waves, that he began to sink into the deep water. That’s when he
cried out to Jesus and was rescued and brought to safety.
What stood out to me was that Peter walked on water as he kept his eyes on Jesus. It was only when he looked at the waves instead of Jesus that he began to sink. Yup, the message to me was that as the waves grew bigger my only hope and help was in Jesus. I needed, and still need, to keep my eyes on Him. There were times that I was sinking, feeling close to death, that I had no hope except to look to and cry out to Jesus and ask Him to save me. It was and has been through keeping my eyes on Jesus that I have been able to stay above the waves of brain cancer and the increasing losses of my health. Fixing my eyes on Jesus is what keeps me from the “drowning waters” of increasing seizures, sever loss of hearing, loss of memory and blurred vision. Keeping my eyes on Jesus is the only thing that prevents me from sinking into greater discouragement and despair. I must continually keep my eyes on Jesus and heaven otherwise I will only see the intimidating waves in this life. I don’t know what waves you have faced. I don’t know what storm you may be in right now or what “waves” will come, but I can tell you that the key to keep from drowning is to focus your eyes on Jesus. Cry out to Him, He’s right there to rescue you and bring you back to a safe place.
For Peter it was to be back in the boat with Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus to walk on the ‘waves” that you are or will face in the days, weeks or months to come. (John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble”) You can walk on “waves” as you keep your eyes on Jesus, and He will keep you from drowning.
Submitted by Rev. Dwayne Potteiger