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Walking on Water

Ahh, it is finally getting to be the time of year when I can take a daily walk. The weather this spring seemed to only want to tease many days. My walks were sporadic for a while. Now it is easier to plan to get out more frequently.

Do you ever think when you are reading your Bible that you are reading a list of unforgettable walks? The first walk we read about is taken by God. We are told that He used to take a walk in the cool of the day. But in many of the walks that we read about there is an invitation for us to walk with God.

There was the horrific walk Abraham took with his son Isaac. There was the freeing, liberating walk Moses and the Israelites took through the Red Sea. There was Joshua’s triumphant walk around the walls of Jericho; the disciples’ enlightening walk to Emmaus. You will think of more. You all know how God walks with us through our days and nights here on earth.

A walk that may be very familiar to all of us is when Peter got out of the boat and walked on water. I think we see in Peter the desire to step out in faith, something we all feel the urge or need to do. Most of us want to experience the presence and power of God more fully. And it seems to present a picture of doing, with God’s help, something that we could never do on our own.

I feel that in my own life God has a habit of asking me to do things that are a little scary. I often feel inadequate or as though I might fail. I do have the assurance that my life will be changed, and even that change holds its own kind of fear. And yet, I truly believe that God is calling us daily to transcend those fears, manage our failures, and trust wholly in Him.

So, today let’s be like Peter. Let’s see if we can walk on water.

Peter and his friends were in a small boat one day. Jesus had wanted to be alone that afternoon, so He wasn’t with them. Peter was okay with that. He had been around boats his entire life. But this time a storm blew in. The Gospel of Matthew says the boat was “tormented” by the waves. It was violent, and I am sure the disciples just wanted to stay alive.

Then one of the disciples noticed a figure moving across the water. Let that image sink in. The very person who could help the disciples in their distress was now approaching them. The disciples did not recognize Jesus but were convinced that He was a ghost. They were terrified and called out in fear. We might wonder how they failed to know it was Jesus. Who else would it be? Matthew seems to want us to know that there are times when it takes the eyes of faith to recognize that Jesus is around. Often in the middle of our personal storms, tormented by doubt and disappointment, we are no better at recognizing His presence than the disciples were. Matthew also wants us to know that Jesus comes when we least expect Him. And He still asks us ordinary followers to do some extraordinary things.

Picture again the scene of this story. The storm was violent. Many of these disciples were fishermen, seasoned professionals, and yet they were fighting to keep the boat from capsizing. Imagine the size of the waves, the darkness of the night, the strength of the wind.

It would be tough enough to try to walk on calm water. Imagine trying to do it when the waves were crashing, it’s pitch dark, and you are terrified.

But know the Lord is passing by—and He is calling you to step out to go on the adventure of your life. What would you choose: to stay in the boat or to walk on the water? The boat is comfortable, a known secure place. The water is rough. There’s a storm out there.

I think there is something or Someone inside each of us who tells us there is much more to life than sitting in the security of a boat that pulls us away from the high adventure of following God. We see it as Peter lets go and abandons himself to the power of Jesus. He was the disciple who attempted to do what he was not capable of doing on his own. He felt the empowerment of God as he walked on the water. And he was lifted by Jesus in a moment of desperate need.

Place yourself in this story. Are you living your life as Peter did, putting yourself with utter vulnerability into the hands of God? If not, what is your “boat” that is keeping you so comfortable that you can’t step out and walk on water? The water is where Jesus is. The call to get out of the boat involves opportunity. Often failure, fear, suffering get wrapped in a call to a task that seems too big for us. But there is no other way to grow in faith and to partner with God. Today let go, abandon yourself to our loving, caring God. And may you be richly blessed.


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