But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” Mark 6:45-52
We thought we will be living and serving with our brothers and sisters in Angeles City for a very long time or for the rest of our lives. For 16 years, we have been living together in a way of life called for us. From college days to being single people, we hand in hand followed and loved God. When some of us got married, we still met for worship and fellowship. When our marriages bear fruits, our children flocked and run around our prayer meetings and events. When we were still studying in the university, we shared how we will grow old loving God and one another. We have the vision to continue living as Christians in a covenanted community set-up. Our family’s activities were surrounded by the relationships we had with the rest of our brothers and sisters. It was a stable condition of the present and future, shall I say.
In 2007, we heard God’s call for us for expansion. The discernment was going beyond what we expected for. April of that year, I applied and was offered a job in upstate New York, USA. By the last quarter of the year, my family of four was living in that place. It was a smooth sailing at the start. We live in a good place and found new friends. My work provided well for us. We attended a charismatic community with Filipino lineage. And then the waves came…instability.
Recession hits the US. Recession hits us.
The company I work for tightened its belt. So, we have, too.
The community we were attending had completely different approaches compared with what we have grown with thus we made the decision to stop participating.
At this point, I started to wonder. Did we hear something from God? Or was it from a “ghost”? Same thing happened with the disciples. They were on the shore which was stable. Jesus made them to get into the boat. When heavy winds blew the boat, they saw Jesus walking on water. They were terrified since they thought it was not Jesus, their initial identification was that Jesus was a ghost. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mark 6:50). We heard the same words when we met up with brothers and sisters who came from different branches of Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon (Lingkod) in the Philippines who were now living in the northeastern part of USA. Jesus identified himself to the disciples as the one who made them to get into the boat. Jesus made sure we are on the same page with the disciples as we came into deeper relationship with these former Lingkod members. After heartfelt prayers, we are now part of building a ministry for single men and women with the same former Lingkod brothers and sisters.
The disciples were terrified and feared it was a ghost, that it was not God. We also had that fear – fear of “It’s not God”. And in both occasions, Jesus said, “It is I.” We will have courage and be not afraid.