Monday, June 25, 2012

let's walk on water

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.

When we follow Jesus, we will have many opportunities to exercise our faith.  We will also have opportunities to allow fear to keep us from going where God leads.  It takes a great deal of courage to set fear aside and to live by faith.

Peter was ready for the next step.  He was in a boat with his fellow disciples late one night after a long day of ministry.  Jesus told the guys to get in the boat and go to the other side of the sea (Matthew 14:22-33 is the story).  As it often happens, the weather changed suddenly, and the disciples feared for their lives when the wind got bad.

They were way out in the middle of the sea as the disciples see someone walking toward them, and they thought it had to be a ghost.  It was Jesus.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

The story continues to unfold as Peter asks Jesus to let him walk to Jesus.  Then it happened.  Peter walked on water.  He actually took steps.  We don’t know how many.  While the rest of the disciples were in the boat, Peter got out of the boat.

Jesus walked on water.  He is God.  Peter walked on water, and he is not God.  This story often gets us caught in the fact of what Jesus did, and we miss what happened with Peter.  Don’t miss this part of the story as there is much to learn from what Peter experienced and what Peter wanted.

I don’t believe Peter wanted to do something miraculous or to become a hero.  I believe that Peter wanted to be with Jesus.  The way that Peter dealt with fear was to spend time with the one who brought him comfort.  That was Jesus.  Peter learned to trust and stop leaning on his own resources and strength.  He saw Jesus do miracles like healing people and now walking on water.

Yes, Peter sank.  When Peter realized that as he was walking on water and that the storm and the waves and the wind were bad, he began to sink.  When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he sank.  We will do the same.  Take your eyes off of Jesus, and you will sink.

How do we deal with fear?  Do we run in faith to the one we trust, or do we cower and let our focus move off of God? 

To walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.  To trust God, you have to live by faith and live with courage.  God is ready to help us take the next step.  He is ready to empower us to live lives with meaning and strength that changes us and will lead to others being changed. 

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to step out of the boat and see what God is going to do next.  Despite the fear of looking foolish or failing; despite the question of finances or of fighting; despite my lack of resources or confidence, I will step out of the boat and trust God.

May our lives count as we follow God’s lead.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

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