A man in his mid-thirties approached me and said, “Father, when I was young I had a problem with impurity and I thought that when I got older I would be able to get rid of it. I considered myself quite a success but now, I am down with my sin. I don’t know why.” A mother in her forties shared with me and said, “I thought that when I’d get older, I would get more patient and mellow down. But the older I got, the more impatient I became.” A teenager approaches me and says, “I really want to be a good son but I don’t know why, after my Life in the Spirit Seminar, I was doing very, very well. Now, I don’t know what has happened. I still pray. Unfortunately, my mother and father cannot see the good things about me anymore.”
I can identify with these three. They want to be good. They want to get rid of a problem. They successfully conquered these problems or issues and yet they find themselves backsliding. They seem to be reverting back to their old ways. BSDU – Balik sa Dating Ugali. What has happened after a loving encounter with Jesus in a retreat or LSS? What has happened?
That same question came to the mind of Peter. He wanted to cross over the water. He was already taking a few steps. Yet Peter started to sink. Peter started to sink when instead of focusing on Jesus he focused on the wind. Reflect on those words. Peter started to sink into the water at that very instant his eyes and his senses were no longer focused on Jesus but more on the threat of the storm. That is what happens to us when our attention is more focused on the problem. We also get less focused on Jesus. When we are less focused on Jesus, we become less and less able to do the good things that we are supposed to do.
A few months ago, I joined a group of priests, thrill seekers you might say. In the name of fun, we climbed trees 40 feet high and then walked on a cable. We were hanging on to ropes and then we were supposed to jump from the cable. So I climbed the ladder without a hitch. When I was stepping on the cable, I heard them shout, “Soc, slide.” So I slid because I wanted to get to the middle of that cable all by myself, holding on to the vines and the ropes securing me. Halfway through the cable, the thought of falling crossed my mind. I knew I would not get physically hurt but my ego would certainly be bruised. I was trembling. All of a sudden I didn’t know what to do, until I heard one of my brother priests shout at me saying, “Don’t look down, look up.” The moment I started to look up into the sky and look at the vine and the ropes I was holding on to, I was steady again and successfully completed my jumps – thoroughly enjoying it.
Don’t look down! Look up to God. Don’t look at the storm, stay focused on Jesus. Whatever problem you may be carrying right now is bearable. You can even walk on the water. You can even glide through water if you are focused on Jesus. But if you are more focused on the law of gravity, if your attention is more on the force of the storm and the wind rather than on the force of God Himself, it is no wonder that like Peter, you will keep sinking into your problems.
Don’t look at the problems. Look at God. Don’t look at the wind. Look at Jesus. Right now, you can even walk through the waters of your problem undaunted, unafraid.
Love Like Jesus