Wanna Walk On Water? Get Out of The Boat!

I'm afraid. Always. Even if there's nothing to fear, I'll find my way to it! My shaky self-confidence is the well-spring of much of my anxiety--making me particularly susceptible to stings of criticism and rejection. (Ironically, divine intervention led me to my career as a college instructor. I can't bring myself to read "ratemyprofessor.com!") Mostly, I fear various forms of truth---especially facing and confronting negative truths about myself.

But, here's my greatest accomplishment  I've learned to do it afraid. I'd rather "drown" than stay stuck in my boatload of fears! I love the Apostle Peter. I love his impetuousness and his zeal. He was also the only disciple courageous enough to get out of the boat and walk on water toward Jesus Christ. Ok, so Peter sank...his courage was still admirable. At least Christ caught him before Peter completely went under---that's comforting, right? Speaker, Joyce Meyer reminds us that Jesus Christ is not found in our boatload of fears. Rather, He's out on the water and beckons us to step out and walk toward Him. Most likely, we'll feel increased anxiety as we "water-walk," and like Peter, we'll probably sink a few times along the way. On the other hand, as with Peter, Christ will not let us drown.

Artist: Ivan Aivazovsky

Peter's fear of persecution also resonates with me. As an Apostle in Christ's inner circle, he was an obvious target. And even though Peter fell short a few times, he eventually transcended his fear of persecution. Following Christ's crucifixion, he spent the rest of his life bravely preaching to the Jews. After a particularly vicious public beating, the scriptures tell us how Peter left the village "rejoicing that [he] was counted worthy to suffer shame for [Christ's] name" (Acts. 5:41). Finally, years later, he was crucified (some sources say he hung upside down on a cross). All of this, from a guy who had previously denied (three times) even knowing Jesus Christ.

"Fear not," is an oft repeated phrase throughout the scriptures. Perhaps the Lord is not talking so much about a feeling, but rather a conscious decision. Joyce Meyer makes a valid point when she says, "You can feel the emotion of fear and still 'fear not.' The scriptures don't say 'shake not, tremble not, sweat not'....they say 'fear not." You can do a lot of things while you're shaking" (joycemeyer.org).

I would imagine that as we examine our individual lives, we'll find fear to be the consistent, recurring theme which undermines our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with Jesus Christ. Moreover, fear steals our joy.

Don't let fear keep us from our destiny,


P.S.  If you still can't get out of the boat, row ashore and try wading into the water---feet first!

1 comment

  1. Fear has also been a powerful influence in my life. I’ve learned it can paralyze us or push us to heights we’ve never thought possible. Through my job as a salesman, I’ve had to overcome the effects of fear every day—the fear of failure. I fear I may not close a sale that day, and in turn, not accomplish my daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Even if I’ve had a successful day the day before, today I have to prove myself all over again. Day after day. Month after month. Every day starts with 0 sales. Wrestling that daily fear has been very challenging. However, my fear of failure overshadows any fear of rejection. When I’m on a doorstep, what someone may say or how someone may react doesn’t matter. I cannot fail. That fear motivates me. It pushes me. I cannot come home with a 0 for the day. As a result, the Lord has shown me what I’m made of. As we’ve walked door to door together every summer (and even wrestled at times), He’s brought me to higher planes of work ethic, perseverance, patience, and persuasion. Though my walk with God has been scary and uncertain at times, like Peter, I know he will always be there to catch me if I start to sink. He always has. He will for you too. The words of this Hymn have always brought me much comfort along my journey with Him every summer:

    Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high!
    The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh.
    Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep
    When each moment so madly is threatning A grave in the angry deep?

    The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, Waken and save, I pray!
    Torrents of sin and of anguish sweep o’er my sinking soul,
    And I perish! I perish! Dear Master. Oh. Hasten and take control!

    Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored, And heaven’s with in my breast.
    Linger, O blessed Redeemer! Leave me alone no more,
    And with joy I shall make the blest harbor And rest on the blissful shore.

    The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace be still
    Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea Or demons or men
    Or whatever it be, No waters can swallow the ship where lies the Master
    Of ocean and earth and skies. They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace be still, peace be still.

    Put your fear in it’s proper place—an arrow in your quiver, a tool in your tool belt, or better--in the Lord’s hands!

    Steve Hawker