Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sturdy Faith

"Peter said to Him, 'Lord , if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' And He said 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But, seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'"
Matthew 14:28-31

I read this passage this morning and something in my spirit said, "THIS IS ME!!" I want to follow Jesus out onto the water - I want to follow Him wherever He leads! Yet, so often and very recently, when I start down the path in the will of God, I start looking around like Peter; I forget about the power of God that got me started on the path and I start worrying about the strength I am going to need to figure out this path.

I start sinking . . . or maybe wandering for the initial calling/path on which God said, "Come!" I rely on my own provision, not God's. I have little faith, despite God's constant displays of faithfulness and extraordinary provision - Jesus had just turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough food to feed more than 5,000 people! AND Peter had seen Jesus do it! I have seen Jesus provide, praised Him for it, but then not relied on that powerful provision on the next path God called me.

Why can't I have faith, sturdy faith, that keeps me walking on the water . . . walking down the path . . . God has called me? Instead, I have little faith, like Peter, and I have doubts. I have all the great intentions in the world but can't seem to stay fixed.

This is where I have found myself recently. And honestly, until this morning, I prayed for another chance to follow God into something mighty and I promised that I was going to "do better" next time.

But that isn't what God wants of me. He doesn't want me to do more - He wants me to do less! Look at what Jesus did with Peter. First, He called Peter. We don't lead. God does. And God calls us to daring things - like walk on the water! Impossible things that only He is able to accomplish.

Second, when we lack faith, God is right there, ready to immediately reach out and take hold of us. Once Peter became frightened, he didn't sink down and start swimming on his own! NO! He called to Jesus, and immediately Jesus came to Peter to rescue him from his fear and doubt. Notice though, He didn't calm the wind until He and Peter got into the boat. Jesus didn't remove the source of Peter's fear; He stepped in and comforted Him through it. He wants to be our anchor even during the storms that will come against us while we are in His will.

God knows that following His calling will be hard. Satan will come against us. Our flesh will war against His Spirit in us. Yet, we have the comfort and strength of being held by Him through it all. We learn to depend more and more on Him through these times of faith-stretching.

Finally, look at what happens when they get back in the boat:

"And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!'"
Matt. 14:33.

No matter what Peter's (or my) personal struggles in responding to or living out God's calling, God's faithful response and show of power resulted in praise and glory for Him, the only one deserving of it!

I can have sturdy faith when I follow God, keeping my eyes on Jesus. And when I start to look around in my own strength, I can trust that He will be there . . . sometimes gently taking my hand, sometimes grabbing me around the waist . . . reminding me of His calling and His power in my life.

I pray that He will have more and more opportunities to show His love, faithfulness, and provision to His children through my life, even if that means they come in my struggling to obey and rest in Him. Today, I can praise Him even more because of His faithfulness in Peter's life!

And that is where sturdy faith is . . . a faith that doesn't just sees with my eyes, but knows that through His power the impossible can be accomplished.