|Matthew 14:28 "Lord if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.."
This is a familiar passage. The apostles were out in the boat and a storm came up suddenly and fiercely. The waves raged against the ship and threatened to break it apart. The apostles, frightened by what they saw, struggled to correct the situation. The winds hissed the lies of the enemy...."overboard, overboard, it's hopeless, it's hopeless..." Here they were surrounded by the darkness of night, their tiny vessel battered by tumultuous waves, the sails battered and ripped by the wind - without escape, seemingly without hope.
Then calmly, walking in the midst of the storm - on the tossing waves was a figure. "Is this a dream - is it a ghost - what is this that comes toward us - an angel of death???" The fear, the worry, the unknown - all in the form of questions.
And then the voice - "Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid"
That calm steady voice. So very quiet it could have been missed amidst the rage of the storm, it could have been lost in the hiss of the wind, could have been drowned out by the pounding waves. But it is that voice that pierces all darkness, cuts through all distraction. It is that voice that demands an audience, complete attention - it can not be ignored. It demands action - will you stop to listen?
I have come to love this passage of scripture over the past year as God has brought so much to me in these 12 months. He has taught me the truth of water walking faith. You see I knew this story...I had a head knowledge of it...I believed it to be true - but when was I ever going to be out on the water to walk upon it?
Simply a Sunday school story miracle.
What a deception of the enemy!
Water walking faith happens all the time, are you ready for it?
Water walking faith, however, has a cost. You must be willing to accept the storm to
see the miracle. You must be willing to look only at God to trade in the physical for the spiritual. To trust what you don't see, can't explain, know in this physical world is impossible and believe in the one who said "Fear Not".
I love Peter's response when he hears that familiar voice - the voice of the one he has come to trust as Savior, Messiah, Master, and Teacher. The one he has heard call the dead to rise, the blind to see, the possessed to be set free. The one he has heard pray and talk with Father God.
"Lord, If it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.."
For me it came, all to often, in a question like this - and I believe this is the way many of us have phrased it: "Lord, my world is falling apart, my heart is shattered....IF you are here call me - show me a miracle"
But look closely at Peter's request. He did not ask for a miracle, he did not even ask that the storm be calmed. He asked for Jesus to bid him to come to him on the water. THROUGH the storm, in the midst of the turmoil. He wanted Jesus to bid him come into his presence. He knew something so many of us forget, or never fully learn, or somehow don't grasp - He Knew where safety was. Safety was not in that earthly vessel, it was only in the presence, the company, at the feet of, in the arms of JESUS. No where else.
My request has become: "Father, here it is - my life, all that I am, just as I am - use me: help my sight be on you and you alone."
As we continue this we see that Jesus responds to Peter with firmness and authority in verse 29 - One simple word, "COME"
Come: step out, a simple command. Come....do you hear it? An invitation of Jesus into the safety of his arms.
Please note that the storm has not stilled. Very likely the others are a mixed group: some terrified still, others staring in disbelief as the events unfold. The winds still rage, the waves still pound - - - the enemy still attacks with his lies: "it is hopeless, it is hopeless, give up, there is no salvation"
But there in the midst is the truth "FEAR NOT, IT IS I - the I Am, the Alpha and Omega, The Strong Tower - FEAR NOT I am able to deliver you - I love you, you are mine!"
Peter stepped out in the midst of that storm - eyes on Jesus. One foot after the other, walking on water. All is well even in the midst of the raging storm because all he could see was Jesus' face, all he looked at was that out stretched arm - all he listened for was that calm, quiet, authoritative voice.
But the enemy was still there whispering. And Peter saw the crashing waves, he saw that his feet were on uncertain ground that rolled and shifted and threatened to upturn him. He looked away.
In verse 30 we see him sink.
Then the miracle of grace comes in - He cried out and Jesus lifted him up.
Thank you Lord for that grace! "Why did you doubt?" Jesus asked.
So it is still - why did you doubt, why do you worry - you are my child, I love you and know you and have set forth your days, I have good thoughts toward you - plans for an expected end.
Why?? - because we are weak, we are of this physical world - because our faith falters, and we long to be in control.
Through this year God has shown me spiritual things that are more beautiful than anything this world has to offer. However, it has come at the cost of my being in control. Some say this should be easy - but I ask each of you to look closely at your heart, seek that which is hidden. Is is not our tendency to try to fix things, cope with things, be the strong one.
In my darkest hours as the enemy whispered his lies of defeat I cried out to Jesus to show me the cross, to extend his hand, to comfort my heart. In my times of doubt I have learned to ask for His perfect strength, His understanding, His peace.
My earthly vessel is weak and battered. It shatters easily when the waves of life beat upon it. This road I walk shifts beneath my feet and I stumble. Sometimes this world I know falls around me, and the things I thought were in my control slip through my hands like sand. These dreams I cherish sometimes never come true, these hopes I treasure sometimes are stolen or broken. These things I strive for sometimes do not happen. These prayers I whisper are not always answered the way I want.
Yet it is all beautiful - and perfect - and calm.
Water walking faith is trading in this physical sight for things unseen - it is looking to Jesus and through him it is being given spiritual sight of things more beautiful and precious, things hoped for, believed in and things to come. It is grace in its purest form.
Water walking faith means in the midst of the storm you accept it for what it is - a storm that will pass - and look to what will be - The perfect will of God.
This is no easy thing, there are times we will begin to sink. But this is our hope - "IT IS I" will immediately pull us out of the crashing waves when we cry out.
My darkest hours were still dark, my pain was and is still very much real. But in those hours when the enemy whispered and in those hours when my world shifted, and in those hours when my hopes shattered - I was allowed to see the cross and Jesus said "COME".
Our circumstances and storms may not change - that is not what water walking faith is. It is just that our focus, like Peter's, changes from the storm to the Sustainer, from the lies to the Truth, from the bondage to the Freedom, from the Fear to the Peace-giver, from the shifting ground of life to the Solid Rock of Christ.
When he bids you come - step out. Surrender and walk upon the water. Invite Jesus to take your life and make it calm in the midst of the storm.
If we began to live out water walking faith a revival would sweep our nation. For you can not walk into grace and experience water walking faith and not be changed.
Surrender your life - all that you are - to Christ. Be as Peter and ask that He bid you out into the water.