June 5, 2018

When You're Drowning

The enormous waves are crashing all around, first one, then the next, getting higher by the minute.  You feel yourself sinking fast, and panic fills your pores.  The howling wind pretty much drowns out your desperate cries.   Help!  Please, please help!  Save me!!

You had started out so brave.  Your faith had once been so strong.  What happened?  How did you end up here, drowning in this violent storm?

You have been following Jesus for a while now, and sure, you have experienced your share of hardships, but getting to know Jesus personally, learning from Him and walking side by side with Him.  You wouldn’t trade that for all the fish in the sea! 

During these past few years, you have seen first-hand the amazing, miraculous things that He can do.  The broken have been healed.  Hunger has been satisfied.  Prisoners have been set free.  You know, you just know that He is who He says He is!   You vow in your heart that whatever He asks you to do, wherever He asks you to go, you will say yes.

So when He calls you to Come, to step into the unknown, to walk by faith in a way that you never have before, you are thrilled!  This is the moment you have been waiting for!  The moment when you yourself get the great privilege of seeing your life go from ordinary to extraordinary,  Of being a part of the miraculous!

With almost the first step, however, you realize that the waves are much higher than you thought they would be.  The wind much fiercer and stronger, knocking you off balance.  Causing you to sink.  This thing that Jesus has called you to do?  This brave step that He asked you to take?  This is not just inconvenient or uncomfortable or difficult . . . it is terrifying!  It is literally, humanly impossible!  What you thought was going to be an exciting adventure has turned out to be, instead, a horrible nightmare.

In your struggle to survive, to keep your head above the water, you glance hopefully back to where you had come from.  You see the others who were with you when you took that huge step into the unknown.  What are they thinking now, those people who are watching you sink, fighting for your life?  Surely they are laughing at your foolishness.  Surely they are shaking their heads, in pity or in scorn, thinking that if only you had played it safe like them, this kind of thing never would have happened.

Your head is going under, and if even one more wave crashes down on you, you know, with absolute certainty, that you simply aren't going to make it.  Why, oh why did you think this was a good idea?  In helplessness, in utter desperation, you cry out to the only One who might be able to rescue you.  Help!  Please, please help!  Save me!!

Jesus hears you when you call.  And He reaches out His hand and takes hold of you.  He is right there, right in the middle of the waves, right there next to you.  And He rescues you.

As you cling onto Him for dear life, gasping for your next breath, He does not ask, Why did you go that way?  Or Why did you leave the safe to step into the dangerous?  Or Why did you fail to count the cost before trying something so risky?  He does not ask, Why are you so inadequate for this impossible path I called you to?  No, he looks at you, His beloved follower and asks tenderly, Why did you doubt?

The waves that come crashing down over your head?  The storm that is raging all around you?  The strong wind that throws you off balance and causes you to sink fast?  None of those are your biggest enemy.

No, your biggest enemy, when the waves are crashing and you find yourself drowning, is doubt.  That is the one question that Jesus asks:  Why did you doubt?

Did He not guide you this way?  Did you not hear Him calling out to you to Come?  Did you not step out in faith, courageously leaving the safe to walk into the exciting?  Did you not believe that He could choose you to be a part of the miraculous?

Don’t look at the waves.  Look to Jesus.  Don’t listen to the howling wind.  Listen for His voice.  Believe that the One who called you to take this step into the water is the same One who can rescue you from it. 

When the storm rages, it doesn’t mean that Jesus suddenly forgot how to perform miracles.  You have seen, first-hand, the amazing things that He can do.  Believe that He can do those amazing things in your life too.

And the others who were once with you when you took that huge step into the unknown?  The ones who were watching you sink, fighting for your life?  They stand amazed!  Not at your extraordinary courage.  Not at your miraculous ability to walk on water.  No, they stand amazed at what Jesus can do!

Why did you doubt?  Keep trusting.  When Jesus calls you to Come, keep following him, even if it means leaving the safe and stepping out into the unknown.  Keep looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Keep believing that the One who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. (1 Thess. 5:24)

Keep believing that even in the middle of the storm, when your head is barely above water and you are sinking fast, He can rescue you.

Keep believing in the miraculous.

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Matthew 14:25-33

And in the fourth watch of the night [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea.  But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

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