I was sitting in the nose bleed section with thousands of women in attendance.
This conference had all the motivational speakers, power packed content, and an energy that sparked action. It was busy, alive, and brought powerful “aha” moments.
Yet it was in one of the quieter moments that my soul was stirred - through a song sung by a woman whose voice graced me with penetrating stillness. Standing in awe, soul resonating, tears flowing, I soaked in God’s presence through these words:
You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown where feet may fail,
And there I find You in the mystery,
In oceans deep,
My faith will stand.
And I will call upon Your name,
And keep my eyes above the waves,
When oceans rise,
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours and You are mine.
(Lyrics by Hillsong United, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”)
The words to this song mimic the story of my life, right now, at this very moment in time. Similar to Peter, God is calling me out upon the waters where feet may fail.
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:29)
Peter had faith. Faith in Jesus. Faith to take action against all better judgment. Amidst the storms and winds swirling around him, against all logic that gravity would defy him, he managed to get out of the boat.
And what was the reward for his faith? This man walked on water!
Can you imagine what this must have felt like for Peter? Not just walking on water but feeling completely alive in a moment like that?
All the emotions, the energy, the adrenaline flowing through him, a surging force of life stronger than he thought possible.
Yet when I read this story I can’t help but wonder where the motivation came from for Peter to even think of stepping out of the boat? When you read the story, it seemed like it was Peter who initiated the idea to get out of the boat, not Jesus. “Lord, if it’s you… tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt 14:28 NIV). Where did that idea come from,; where did that desire emanate?
Over a year ago, I was sitting contently in my boat. It was a cozy boat, full of many comforts: material possessions, minimal judgment from others, quietly living my life the way I personally saw fit. I enjoyed the presence of Jesus in my life, but the idea of stepping out of my boat was the farthest thing from my mind, or so I thought.
Content as I was, something was lacking. A subtle ache in my heart refused to be satisfied with life aboard my little boat. I sought to fill that ache with things I thought would fill it: friendships, possessions, achievements. They would satisfy for a season, but the ache would always return and with it the subtle discontent with life aboard my little boat.
It was through that subtle discontent I began to understand Peter’s motivation for getting out of the boat. Jesus’s presence upon the raging waters outside his little boat ignited his deepest passions, turning them from a subtle voice of discontent into a driving passion that could not be ignored. After which, life aboard the ship was simply not a palatable option any longer.
The more I began to seek God in the stillness of my day, the more I felt Him prodding me, poking me, churning up the dormant desires in my soul, making life aboard my ship less and less attractive.
You see, my boat was keeping me from living a life of soul-filling abundance, more than I realized. Only by obediently stepping out, in faith, by Gods prompting, was I able to discover what it feels like now to completely follow Jesus in ways that wholly satisfy.
My boat was keeping me from experiencing God in ways that now bring greater satisfaction than what I was experiencing at a distance with Him before.
Is God inviting you to get out of your boat?
Think about it, have you ever been struck by a song, or beautiful scenery, or words on a page which speaks to you in that moment of time, communicating deeply, capturing your heart, rising deep desires from the forgotten places of your soul? You soul comes alive with that surge of emotion, brings awareness to that ache, filling your soul in ways difficult to describe or understand but you just know that you can’t stay still any longer?
Those moments are not simple coincidences but the lover of your soul is calling you to take inventory of your life, make a change, take a deep breath, and step out onto the waters!
I am now experiencing a richness in my soul. A fuller life. A life that makes my heart soar.
Actions led by faith in the One who guides my steps fills me with deeper sense of purpose because of my obedient devotion to Jesus. Genuine trust in God has become a whole new way of living. It is exhilarating at times, similar to the feeling I’m sure Peter felt when he became the first ever water-walker.
The thing about water-walking however is that God doesn’t guarantee it will be free of trials. He doesn’t guarantee that where He beckons you to follow, it will always be comfortable. He doesn’t even guarantee that you will be successful, per say.
However, He does guarantee that he will always be right there with you, and catch you if you sink, like Peter.
But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. (Matthew 14:30-31)
Some days I begin to sink in the waves of stress, doubt, and worry colliding at me. Some days, overwhelming demands threaten to pull me under the watery abyss. Some days I take my focus away from the One who is able to calm the storms around me. Moments of fear and failure seek to consume me back to my hiding place—back to the comfort of my boat.
But I press on because I know that Jesus is with me. I trust that He will catch me when my focus wanes and feet begin to fail. I press on because I know that life aboard my boat will never compare with life upon the water.
I would rather experience what it’s like for a moment to “walk on water” with Jesus even with the possibility of wavering, or sinking in the waves. Because where feet may fail, Jesus will not.
Success will always be, simply, by taking the first step to get out of the boat.