When I was a little (and not-so-little) girl, I took dance lessons. I spent eleven years pointing, tapping and twirling on my toes. One of the things I always had trouble with was twirling. Don’t get me wrong, I loved spinning across the dance floor! But, I had a little problem with my balance. (Those who know me well know this didn’t stop with dance class. My equilibrium is less than perfect.) Any dancer will tell you the secret to spinning is spotting. You pick a spot to focus on and maintain that focus throughout the spin. Doing this correctly will prevent the spinner from getting dizzy and losing his or her balance.
This morning, as I was replaying the last couple of weeks in my mind, I realized I had lost my focus. Life has been spinning crazily. I know that God is the One Who has set the spinning into motion, but it feels like I’m careening off my axis. Why? Because, just like in dance class, I forgot to spot! I quit looking at God and started looking at my circumstances. And, quite frankly, they look pretty impossible! When I lost my focus, I lost my balance (read: emotional balance. I got crazy.) and let fear and doubt overwhelm me.
When this happens, it always reminds me of Jesus’ disciple Peter and how like him I can be at times. The walking on water incident is one time that I can point to. In case you’re not familiar, here’s the story….in the Leigh Pack version, of course! As always, I urge you to read a “real” Bible to get the actual Biblical account.
In Matthew 14, Mark 6 and John 6, we read about Jesus feeding the five thousand. Afterwards, Jesus needed some down time, so he told the disciples to get back on the boat and go home. Or they decided on their own. Because they were tired of waiting on Jesus. Depends on which gospel you read. At any rate, Jesus went to the hills to pray and the disciples were in the boat on a lake. A huge storm came up. They looked out and saw a ghost on the water. Oh, wait. That’s not a ghost, that’s Jesus! He was just walking over to where the disciples were supposed to be heading. Of course, they started yelling for Him. There was a storm. And they were scared. And despite their doubt, they knew that Jesus could help.
Here’s the part that only Matthew decided was important enough to record. Brash, impetuous, emotional Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and asked Jesus if he could join Him. I mean, why not?! Walking on waves is cool! So, Jesus said, “Sure, c’mon!” Peter stepped out of the boat and was walking on the water! “Yay! Woohoo! Look at me! Oh, wait….there are waves! And wind! I can’t do this! Aaarrggghhh!” And Peter starting sinking into the waves. He immediately cried out to Jesus to help him. And, Jesus did. He reached out His hand and pulled Peter up. Then, they climbed back on the boat and Jesus chided Peter for his lack of faith, asking him, “Why did you doubt?”
Oh yes. That’s me this morning. Jesus has pulled me back out of the water and planted my feet on the boat. I have the stains of doubt dripping from me as surely as Peter had water dripping from him. And I can here Jesus whispering to my heart, “My child, why are you doubting?”
As I dry those doubt drips from my soul, I rehearse to myself all that God’s done. I remind myself that He is good and knows the exact plan. Reread those verses. Don’t you think Jesus knew that there would be a storm? He had just taught the disciples a huge lesson about faith. He used a little boy’s lunch to feel well over five thousand people! Yet, the disciples quickly fell into fear as soon as they fell into the storm. And Jesus knew it would happen. I believe He allowed the storm so He could show the disciples that He loved them as much as He loved the people He fed.
1 John 4:18 says that perfect love drives out fear. I once heard a pastor/professor say that if we have fear in a certain situation, then we aren’t accepting God’s love in that situation, we’re not recognizing that God’s love will make it turn out in the way it’s supposed to. Using that theory the disciples’ water story, they were not able to see God’s love in the storm, despite the beautiful miracles they had already witnessed. Peter saw Jesus and had faith to step out, but not to keep going. It seems crazy that their faith would waver, after all they had seen! But, don’t we do the same thing?
So. In faith, I am going to accept that God loves me. He has brought me this far and will NOT drop me now. He has a plan for my life. He has ordained all of this. Why on earth would I let my faith falter now? Seems crazy. But, it’s easy to do when your focus is on the storm and not on Jesus. I guess that’s why Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus!
Are you in a stormy season? Are you running out to Jesus in faith or are you sinking in the waves? Let’s walk on water together….you, me and Jesus!
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!