Let Me Walk Upon the Waters
This weekend, I took a trip with three close friends to a little place called Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast. One of the places where I feel closest to God is when I’m near the ocean. I don’t know what it is, but something about being near it makes me realize how big God is and how small I am. Sitting on the sandy, rocky coast of Oregon and watching the tide come in and out always makes me feel connected to the Lord in a special way. I think that’s why I love Hillsong United’s song “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” so much. It reminds me that life is like an ocean. Sometimes it’s calm, and sometimes it’s stormy… And sometimes Jesus will call us out to walk on it anyway. “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” was inspired by the story of Peter walking on the water, which is a story that I think is really awesome. Pause reading this for a minute and go refresh your memory in Matthew 14:22-33. It’s worth reading again no matter how many times you’ve heard it, in my opinion.
A quick recap is that Jesus has just gotten done teaching a crowd, and he goes to be alone and pray. He tells the disciples to go on ahead of him, but a storm takes their boat far from the shore. When Jesus is done praying, he walks on the stormy water to get to the disciples. They’re all afraid because they think they’re seeing a ghost, but Jesus tells them not to be scared. Peter says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus does, and Peter walks on the water to him. However, Peter gets scared and begins to sink. Jesus saves him immediately, though, and they get back on the boat. All of the disciples are amazed and worship Jesus after this. There are several things in this story that I think are absolutely amazing and useful for our lives, so I wanted to share some of them with you.
The first thing I’ve noticed in this story is that when Jesus is present, fear is out of place. The disciples are being tossed around on a stormy sea. They are afraid for their lives, and they are even more afraid when they think a ghost is coming toward them. The circumstance they are in says that they have every right to be afraid. The first thing that Jesus says to them, though, is, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (ESV). Notice that he doesn’t say, “Take heart; I’m going to calm the storm. Do not be afraid,” or “Take heart; you’re all going to be fine. Do not be afraid.” He simply says, “Take heart; it is I.” In other words, he doesn’t tell them that they don’t have to be afraid because he’s going to save them. He tells them not to be afraid simply because he is there. The disciples were expected to find strength and peace in the presence of Jesus, and so are we. 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. In the presence of Jesus’s perfect love, there is no need for us to be afraid. He doesn’t have to tell us his methods or promise that the storm is going to calm down right away, and we shouldn’t demand him to do so before complying with what he says. His presence alone should be enough for us to not be afraid and trust that things will turn out okay.
Secondly, Jesus sometimes calls us to do things that make no earthly sense. Think about it. Peter stepping out of that boat didn’t make any earthly sense at all, did it? Everything pointed to him stepping out and sinking like a stone. But he had an idea – he wanted to walk to Jesus. Sometimes God places desires on our hearts that don’t make any earthly sense, either. All human signs point to us failing miserably if we take the leap. You may be afraid of the things you feel God pressing on your heart to do. You may think that they’re impossible, that you could never accomplish them. Trust me, we all feel like that sometimes! If we’ve been called, though, we have to have enough faith to