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
He’s in a boat and Jesus has appeared walking on the water, calling for him to step out. Calling him to walk on water. In that moment, as Peter swung his legs over the edge of the boat and touched the water, as he began to walk on the water, he was putting footsteps on his faith.
We all have opportunities to put footsteps on our faith. To step out of the boat and walk towards Jesus. To put our faith into action. It happens when we have the faith for healing – we need to step out and pray for the sick friend. When we have the faith for salvation – to share the gospel with those around us. It happens when we leave the security of the known to trust in Jesus for the unknown. It happens when we leave a place of understanding to one beyond comprehension.
For Peter, his security and understanding was the boat. The unknown and beyond comprehension was walking on water. He made the decision to step out of the boat and to put his faith into action. We need to take action and demonstrate our faith. To be like Peter and step out of the boat. It means making sure that our words, our attitudes and our actions line up and agree with our faith. And it is in our act of faith that we say yes to God. Yes to what He is calling us to do. Yes to following Him.
We can be reassured though, that when we put footsteps to our faith, He will not let us fail. May we be brave enough to put footsteps on our faith. To walk out what we believe.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour
(Oceans – Where Feet May Fail – Hillsong United)
Make my steps steady through Your promise” (Psalm 119:133)
It was National Haircut Day yesterday. Well not really, but that’s what it felt like. The first 3 women I spoke to at the school and kindy drop off, were all sporting new haircuts and had that I’ve just been to the salon sleek coiffured look. I apparently missed the memo reminding me to go to the hairdressers yesterday. It made me think I was part of a TV advert or something….come to think of it there is a TV advert of a person who missed the text message notifying him of the new haircut style!
It’s not unusual though in life to miss a notification of an event although fortunately this haircut popularity was just a coincidence and not something missed. In the plethora of notices that are coming home from school at the moment advertising gala days, raffles and school assembly costumes, it’s a wonder I haven’t missed something.
What it does remind me, is how often in life we can think that we have missed the moment, that we have missed what God has planned and purposed for us. Through distraction or confusion, disobedience, fear or events outside our control, we can sometimes be left with the feeling that we’ve missed our opportunity to be used by Him.
Mess ups and missed opportunities happen in life, but one thing is for sure, if your heart is after God, you will not miss your calling. God is the God of the second chance, the third chance and all the ones after that. And if that doesn’t convince you take a look at some of the people in the Bible. Moses killed, Jonah ran away, Peter denied. They messed up but they didn’t miss out on fulfilling the purpose that God had called them for.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Things to children are never what they are to us. They see the world differently. That’s certainly the case with my boys. Driving along the waterfront, to my 6 year old, it’s not Rangitoto Island we’re viewing, it’s Tracy Island, home to the Thunderbirds. It’s not just a plain cardboard box, it’s a briefcase for a super hero costume to be stored in, just in case. And it’s not just the packaging to Dad’s Superman Mug, it’s a house for Lego Superman! What I think is rubbish or junk is often squirrelled away in their rooms as treasure.
Michelangelo was the same. He saw art in the rocks that he then sculpted. He said “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
It’s all a matter of perspective, of looking a little further and deeper. It’s the same with us. We often see only our limitations, weaknesses, failings and faults. We can decide we’re nothing special. But God sees more. He see what we don’t. God knows what hidden treasure and potential He has placed in us. And it is to that treasure and potential that He focuses on and encourages us into.
When people saw a mere Shepherd Boy in David, God saw a King. Joseph was a prisoner but God saw the Leader. To most, Peter was just a common fisherman, however, God saw the rock upon which He would build His Church.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
“Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Do you have a dream inside of you? A dream that has not yet taken flight? Is it time to step out of the boat and pursue it? Is it time to be brave?
I don’t know if the Apostle Peter ever dreamt of walking on water, but he certainly leapt at the chance to get out of the boat and try…In the middle of the Sea of Gailee no less. In a storm! It was definitely a “sink or swim…(or walk on water) moment!” I probably would have tried on the waters edge…on a sunny day…when it was calm. And I certainly would have tried when there was no one watching. Peter did it front of his mates, the other Disciples – witnesses to his success or failure. (As it turned out a bit of both!)
But sometimes that is what being brave means. It means not waiting for the perfect conditions or time. It means not caring what others might think of your “impossible” attempt. It means hearing the voice of the Lord, obeying and stepping out of the boat when He says come.
Don’t give in and settle for someone else’s agenda for your life. Keep God first and listen to what He has called you to do. There are other voices calling you to other things. There will be voices calling you to stay in the boat. Or even voices that say you are foolish and won’t succeed. There are other opportunities. And sometimes the easiest option will be to walk away or ignore that dream in your heart.
But dare to dream! It’s your job to give your dream a presence and voice in your life. Keep the dream in front of you. It is your job to give light to the dream through action.
“This is your life. Be bold with it. Live it with energy and purpose in the direction that excites you. Listen to your heart, look for your dreams: they are God inspired.” (Bear Grylls)
It would probably be true to say that not many of us will be unscathed by a betrayal or a hurt from a friend. Over the course of our lives most of us would have at some point been let down, hurt or betrayed by a friend. I know I have. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally. It can come in the form of public rejection or attack. At other times it is a subversive and quiet or maybe mean things are said for our ears only. Whatever the motive or reason, it has hurt. Whether a public or private act, it hurts.
As we lead into Easter, I have wondered how Jesus felt as first Judas publically betrays Him, and then Peter away from Jesus also denies Him. Jesus knew that Judas would be the one to turn him in, stating at the Last Supper that one of those closest to Him would betray Him. But still that must have hurt. That after walking alongside Jesus – seeing His nature, His love and compassion, the miracles even, that it would not be enough to stop Judas betraying Him. That would have hurt.
But I feel what must have hurt even more was Peter. Peter with his fierce loyalty to Jesus. Peter with his confidence in His love for Jesus. Protecting Jesus in the Garden, cutting off a soldiers ear. Following His voice and being the only one to get out of the boat and walk on water. Fierce in his faith. Yet, in dark hours leading up to Jesus crucifixion, he denied knowing Jesus. Self preservation yes, out of fear, yes, but betrayal still.
At the end of the day, we all fail. We all can cause hurt to those around us. But, because of Easter, because of Jesus we are forgiven. After His resurrection, Jesus forgives and restores Peter by asking Him three times how much did Peter love Him. 3 times for the 3 times the rooster crowed.
Forgiveness. Redemption. Restoration.
Forgive us Lord when we have hurt or betrayed others. And help us to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have hurt us. For Christ’s sake. AMEN.
I must confess, I was somewhat taken aback as to the absolute trust and confidence my 2 year old puts in my ability to catch him. Stuck at the top of a big slide, jumping into my arms was to him less of a risk than actually going down the slide. He had more faith than me. But then he had all the reason to have faith in his mum – I’d never missed before. Jumping into my arms was a sure bet in his eyes and in my arms, as there has been since he was born, was comfort and reassurance. He knew, even if I at that moment doubted myself, that I would catch him.
Fortunately for us, God does not have any doubts as to His ability to catch us. In fact it is us who are hesitant, doubting and unsure that He will be there to catch us as we take a leap of faith. It’s scary to step out and witness to someone, or to offer to pray for them. It’s scary to stand in front of a crowd to preach. And I think that often what really scares us is the fear that God won’t show up. That He won’t give us the words to say when we open our mouths. That He won’t be there to strengthen us. That He won’t catch us as we take that leap.
Indiana Jones faced a similar predicament. In the last of tests to reach the Holy Grail he has to take a literal leap of faith into an abyss. After he takes his first step into nothing a bridge appears. The Disciple Peter took a leap too – out of the boat and onto the water where he began to walk.
After we open our mouths to speak, God fills it. And He is with us always. When we take that leap, God is there.
I realised later that when my son jumped into my arms his eyes were fixed on me. That’s what we need to do. Eyes fixed on Jesus means a heart that won’t falter. It means we can walk on water. It means we can take the leap of faith.