the water

. . . the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke up to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”  Matthew 14:24-33

Peter and I have a thing going.  I read his story and I feel my eyebrows rise as he calls out to Jesus and steps out of the boat. My heart quickens as his feet first touch the water and the edges of my lips upturn as he takes his first faith-filled steps. When the wind begins to ripple his resolve and fear begins to swallow him, I relate to his situation and I take comfort in the way his story ends: with Jesus stretching out his hand and taking hold of him.

I am Peter.  I recognize Jesus in the storm.  I ask Him to call me to do things that are kind of crazy and when He does, I get out of the boat.  It’s an exhilarating feeling to stand strong when faith is the only foundation supporting you.  Yet that wind is a pesky problem, it stirs up trouble and I’m quickly distracted, vulnerable and scared.

Listing our home for sale was our recent step of faith: out of the safety of the boat into the unknown.  The wind started out as a whispering and over time has become more fierce.  “Why is this taking so long?  Maybe I shouldn’t have stepped out of the boat.  If this house doesn’t sell, it is going to make someone look silly–me or God, I hope He’s okay with that possibility.” It’s easy to become disoriented when your faith is tested.  All you have to do is take your eyes off of Jesus and you are lost.
My friend Megan was in a similar place, battling fear and uncertainty when she identified the problem:

“My lack of listening [was the problem].  My lack of time and space for reading scripture and prayer. We had incredible peace when we were deep in the Word trying to listen well, but with packing and moving and transitioning and unpacking, I had not been as intentional in the Word.”

Once again we circle back around to this: are we listening to a truth or a lie?  Am I listening to the wind or the Word?  Am I trusting in my circumstances or my Savior? Is my hope founded in my plan or bringing Him glory?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The song “Oceans” by Hilsong United voices the desire of my heart.  It says what I want to say and declares the cry of my heart so beautifully.

The sermon by the same title (Oceans) preached by Tim Spykstra (who pastored our church when we lived in Redlands, Ca) takes Peter’s story and weaves beautiful applicable truths that I have been challenged to embrace.
If you find yourself in a place somewhere far from shore questioning what your next step should be, call on the Lord. He will lead you to your next step and when He does, step out in faith.  When you do, keep your eyes on Christ.  The deceiver will want to whisper lies and change your focus.  Return to God’s Word for your renewing and your faith will be made stronger in the presence of your Savior.

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