It was a morning of mishaps that began at breakfast when I stepped in the dog’s water dish, tipping it over and spilling the contents all over the kitchen floor. Then a button popped off my slacks, so I had to change clothes. In the car, I dribbled coffee down my shirt and nearly rear-ended a car that cut me off and then braked. Before reaching my destination, my eyeglasses fell between the car’s front seats and got lodged there. These were all little annoyances that were made more irritating by the fact that I was on my way to the ladies morning Bible study at church.
I remember thinking, “Really Lord? I’m going where You want me to go and doing what You want me to do, so is it too much to ask for smooth sailing?”
While I was whining, God redirected my mind off the spilled water dish and on to the Sea of Galilee.
Immediately, He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. Then He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But 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 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 14:22-32 NAS
In late afternoon, the minor morning mishaps were forgotten when I got a call from my doctor with the results of a recent CT scan.
Lying in bed that night, I replayed the day’s events in my head and realized I faced the same scenario the disciples did.
In fact, we all do. Jesus tells us where He wants us to go. We obey, but then we encounter unexpected squalls. With the wind whistling in our ears, we quickly become disoriented and frightened. We are battered and tossed about by every wave. As our eyes abandon our Savior and search for the shoreline, we cry out, “Lord, save me!”
If we were to take a moment and listen, we would hear two sounds: The storm raging around us and the gentle voice of Christ within us whispering, “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Like Peter, we have a choice. We can focus on Christ and walk on the water; or focus on the storm and begin to sink. Our faith may get us out of the boat, but it’s our focus that keeps us moving forward.
My prayer that night was simply, “Lord, there’s a storm brewing. So keep my focus on You and give me the faith I need each day to obey. Please don’t let me get so weary or fearful that I give up the good fight.”
Admittedly, a faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted. It takes the storms of life to teach us the difference between stepping out of the boat and jumping ship.