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10 August, 2012

If you want to walk on water, you have to . . .

Christine and I are on a journey.  A journey on which we find ourselves traveling to a new place, joining ministries in Uganda.    A journey of obedience in following God’s call to join Him in the work He is doing in Uganda.

Though there are many decisions we have had to make along the way, there is nothing more important than the decision to live in obedience to God’s direction.       

A scripture passage which has been a blessing to me on this journey is found in Matthew 14:28-32.  This is the story of Peter’s challenge to obedience, a story of his faith tested.   Peter’s life had many “ups” and “downs.”  In spite of these challenges he ultimately responded to Christ in obedience. I’ve read the passage many times and I knew the story, but as we’ve been on our journey out of Kenya it has taken on a new, more personal meaning for me.  Just as God was using the experience of walking on water to help Peter experience a deeper and stronger faith in Him, God is also using this story to guide me in the journey out of Kenya.

Peter’s walking on water was only possible as a result of some decisions he faced before getting out of the boat:
1. BELIEVE  - Those in the boat, Peter along with the other disciples, found themselves in the midst of a storm, which probably created some uneasiness in their hearts and minds.  Amidst this storm they looked out over the water and saw Jesus walking on the water. After Peter questioned who this was walking on the water, Jesus said to Peter, “Come.”

The first decision Peter had to make when Jesus said “Come” was to believe.  He knew from past experience that walking on the water was not remotely possible.   He had to believe he could obey and “come” as Christ directed him.

2. MOVE – Peter had to make a decision to move.   Where is the safest place in the boat?  The center of the boat!  Peter had to step out of the “safety” found in the middle of the boat and move to the edge.     Without this move, Peter wouldn’t have been able to see “over the edge” and take the next step which was a BIG step of faith.  Peter moved to the side of the boat near Jesus. As he moved away from the safety of the “status quo” he kept his eyes on Jesus and began to see Him more clearly.

3. JUMP – Though Peter chose to believe and chose to move to the side of the boat, he still had to make the decision to actually “jump” into the water. This definitely was a step of faith for Peter.    He did “jump” and began walking on water.  Though at one point he became afraid, took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, Christ “stretched out His hand and caught him.” 

By being obedient and making the decisions to believe, move and jump, Peter’s trust of and faith in Jesus was strengthened and was an example to others.           

To me, this passage:
  • Communicated that in order to “get out of the boat”, I need to be willing to take a step of faith to the "edge of the boat".  
  •  Affirmed God’s calling for me to respond to His prompting to move out in faith so that I would be ready to “jump” into the unknown of the future.   It reassured me that in the midst of the unknown he would be walking the journey with me. 
  •  Demonstrates the need for complete obedience and response to God’s call.  I must keep my eyes focused on Him.

As we enter this new ministry, Christine and I want to allow God to use us in a deeper way.  Just as Peter demonstrated his faith in Jesus, we too must allow all we do, and all we are be guided by and be an example of Christ living in us.  We’ve got much to learn as we continue in His journey for us.



Nancy Almquist said...

When we came to see you in 2009, a mantra that Charma used over and over again was, "jumping out of the boat" in reference to the new experiences we were facing on our short journey. Many of these experiences were simply daily life for you. Once upon a time, they were new to you also. Take this as encouragement that your transitions from the US to Kenya and now from Kenya to Uganda are very similar - both requiring you to jump from the boat. God is faithful - is and will always be! Love you both! Nancy