Sons And Daughters Of God
by Fr. Chris Goodwin
Where does a son of God encounter God?
Elijah needed an encounter with God. He needed God as his refuge. He went up the mountain; he sought solitude.
There was a strong and mighty wind. But the Lord was not in the wind.
There was an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake.
There was a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire.
Elijah encountered God in the “tiny whispering voice”.
Jesus, the Son of God, knew from all eternity what Elijah discovered on Horeb.
Jesus, after feeding the five thousand, went to do what he had begun to do before the needs of the crowds compelled him to feed them: he went up the mountain to be alone with God in prayer. Jesus, from all eternity, knew what it was to be the Son of God. He knew how to hear the Father’s voice in the “tiny whispering sound” of solitude and quiet. Jesus’ communion with the Father was the source of everything he did.
Furthermore, he lived the peace that he found in his prayerful communion with God. That is why he was able to walk on the waters of a mighty storm and be unaffected.
He was also teaching his disciples how to be sons of God – how to have faith in God’s providence. That’s why he sent them off by themselves without him. He was testing them. He was letting them be assailed by the strong forces of the storm. Would they have faith? The storm raging around them is also a symbol of the storm within them: there is a battle raging within them between fear and faith, between calamity and calm, between slavery and sonship.
“O you of little faith,” says Jesus to Peter when they are safely back in the boat, “why did you doubt?” Peter doubted because he was afraid – with a fear that is opposed to faith. He believed in the power of the storm, but less in the power of Jesus’ perfect calm. He believed in the possibility of his death, but less in the Lord of life.
The question that Jesus asked Peter is a good one for us to hear him asking us. “Why did you doubt?” When we can identify what causes us to doubt the perfect love of Jesus, we know what we need God’s grace to vanquish. Whatever it is that makes us doubt and falter, that is what keeps us from living in the spirit of adoption – from living like we really are the sons and daughters of God. When we really live as if this is a fact, as if we are God’s children, then we will be able to walk and to stand with Jesus on any storm.