Then somebody shows up – out for a Sunday afternoon stroll (at 3am) – on a sea of raging water. Freaky!
They were so scared.
When we are exhausted, God does show up – sometimes His presence doesn’t look right. Sometimes it scares us. Always it challenges us and shows us what can be.
Peter, an obvious early adapter, grasped the concept of walking on the water quickly. “Hey Jesus, if that is you, ask me to join you!” For all his bravado, Peter realized the most important point – if you are going to get out of the boat, don’t go because you think it would be cool. Don’t go because you hope God will call you. Don’t get out of the boat until you have heard God’s voice. On the flip side, when you hear God’s voice, JUMP. Don’t think, don’t speculate, ACT.
Peter got out of the boat. He was walking on the water. He was following Jesus in the wild, wild world.
Now, some have a code, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” This sometimes sneaks into our theology. It sounds something like this: “If I follow God, He will make sure I am comfortable.” Surely Peter had the right for some expectation. After all, Jesus had called him. He hadn’t jumped out of the boat, he waited until he heard God’s voice, and then, as soon as he heard, he followed.
Yet, a few steps into his stroll, wave swells grew. Pretty soon, he could no longer even see Jesus walking on the other side of the waves. (My supposition.) Sometimes, when you follow God, as soon as you say ‘yes’, the terrain seems to morph. Nothing looks the same. Where is God?
Peter, full of faith, was distracted by the waves. When you walk on a balance beam, it is important to focus. If you loose focus, even for a millisecond, a flip can become very dangerous. Walking in faith is equally demanding. When you choose to follow Jesus, you have to discipline your mind, focus your thinking, feed your faith. You have to keep your mind’s eye focused on where God called you to. Otherwise, like Peter, you will find yourself sinking below rush of life.
If you are human, you will occasionally reach that point of overwhelm. Peter had Jesus, in the flesh, out there on the sea with him. Those waves seemed so high that he lost his concentration. Then, he did what you and I need to do – he asked for help.
Jesus, help me!
When you can’t feel God, you cry out. A good friend of mine calls this “carpet eating prayer.”
Faith is that point of concentration and focus. You keep your mind focused on God, and continue to walk where He told you, even when the waves are so large you can’t see two feet ahead. If you lose that point of concentration, you do whatever it takes to get it back. You dig deep into spiritual disciplines, and wait. God will show up.
Saints throughout the years have taught us spiritual disciplines. The whole point is to help us walk straight – not by our power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you feeling swept away? Let me know – leave a comment or email me – I’d love to be in prayer with you.