In the book of Matthew there is a story about Jesus’ disciples being out in a boat in a storm. They saw someone walking toward them on the water and were afraid. It was Jesus, and he told them not to be afraid. Peter, one of the disciples, asked Jesus if it was really him that he wanted to walk on the water out to him. So, Jesus told him to come. He stepped out of the boat and walked for a little bit, but then began to sink. Jesus saved him. You can find the whole story in Matthew 14:22-33.
I was reading another blog and the writer pointed out something I had not thought about before. It was the fact that when Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat the storm was still raging. It wasn’t until Jesus got into the boat that the storm stopped. This makes me think of so many times when Jesus has asked me to “get out of the boat”. The boat, in this story, represents safety and security. These men, most of them, were fisherman. They spent their lives on boats. It was a safe place for them. What they knew was not safe was the water.
Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water to him. That would be terrifying enough but then to do it in a storm would be too much. I can sympathize with Peter loosing faith and sinking half way through. In fact, I am not sure I would have gotten out of the boat in the first place. That took a lot of courage!
Jesus asks us at times to “step out of the boat” and to trust him in doing something we are uncomfortable doing. But sometimes he asks us to do that in the middle of a storm. It seems like in my life when God asks me to do something hard, that I think I cannot do, he often makes the circumstances such that I cannot mistake the fact that if I succeed at this hard thing he is asking of me it will only be because He did it through me and not because I had anything to do with it. We do, however, have a choice to stay in the boat or get out. God doesn’t make us do stuff, he asks, and we either obey or don’t. I personally would rather be out of the boat and walking to Jesus in a storm than in the boat in a storm, without Jesus. I have learned it is better to be with Jesus in a bad situation than without him in a good one. Things work out better that way.
Is God asking you to step out of the boat in some area of your life? Does it seem like it’s a bad time for him to be asking you to do this thing? I think it often seems like Jesus chooses the most inopportune moments to ask me to do something big. Like asking us to start this latest adoption process when our youngest child was 6 months old. It seemed like the worst time. But what I didn’t know was that it would be almost two years from that time that our daughter would come home. It was a long journey. God knew that, but I had to trust Him and do what I thought was crazy, at what I thought was a bad time. Will you trust him and get out of the boat even though it seems like a bad time, or will you do the same old thing and stay in the boat?
Many of us wait years to obey because it’s not a “good time”. What I have learned is when we’re asked to do something difficult, scary, or impossible, it is human nature to find reasons to say it’s not a good time. With this logic, it will never be a good time and we will miss the blessing and assurance because of our reluctance to obey. Speaking to myself here. Let us encourage one another to do the tough stuff. Thank you, Ruth, for inspiring!