Vol. 19 No. 26 | July 2, 2017
As described in Luke 24, Jesus’s disciples had been following Him for some time, experiencing many miraculous things in His presence.
When Jesus receives news that John the Baptist has been beheaded, He retreats to a solitary place to reflect upon and mourn his death. Once His followers discovered where he was, they crowded around him with the hope of receiving more of his teachings.
His compassion would not allow Him to turn them away, and he healed many of them. As the day came to an end, He asked His disciples to provide food for all. At least 5000 people were fed that evening with a miraculous display of food.
He dismissed the crowd and sent His disciples out onto the lake, while He again retreated to a place of solitude. What happened next reminds me of the quandary in which I often find myself.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:27-29, NIV)
This is how I can relate to this story:
I am trying to go to Jesus, to follow Him, and do what He wants me to. I am trying to sort through my options to discover His will. Like Peter, I am frozen in time wondering if I should step out into the unknown, or if I should I stay where it is safe and familiar.
It is decision time. I have heard the Lord say, come and I want to go. But fear paralyzes me, filling my head with all the reasons why I should stay where it’s safe. You’ll look foolish, people will laugh at you, they will think you have lost your mind. You will think you have lost your mind. What if you fail? What if this is the wrong decision?
These voices get louder, as my heart pounds faster. I want to step out and join Him. But I also want to be where is it comfortable.
So here I stand, one foot placed firmly in the boat, and the other perched on the edge, ready to step out into the unknown.
I can remember times when I choose to play it safe and risk nothing. God has never scolded me, ridiculed me, or deserted me when I chose this path. I have experienced good times in those safe places and been blessed in many ways. I have also known times of regret for choosing to stay where it was safe, looking out where Jesus is, wondering what it would be like to be standing in front of him.
I can also remember times when I did step out, overcoming my fear of the unknown and accepting His invitation. The experience was exhilarating! The reality of knowing and accepting that it is not me, but him who is in control is overwhelming. Yes there were those who wondered what I was thinking, and times when I wondered the same. There were others who said I was a fool, and times when I felt like one.
The difference between these two paths is that I cannot recall a time when I walked toward Jesus, and then looked back and wished I had stayed in the boat. This is not to say that I haven’t had moments of doubt and long periods of waiting to see where He was leading me. But I never regretted taking the risk. My only regret has been that I didn’t do it sooner.
Maybe you are in the boat and hear Jesus asking you to come to him. Perhaps He is asking you to choose do what it takes to have a better marriage. Maybe he is asking you to take the necessary steps to improve your relationship with your children, or maybe to pursue a new career and a better way of living.
I cannot read this passage from Luke without being reminded of these words from Patrick Overton that I have shared so many times: “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”
Is it time for you to step out into the unknown? Or are you content where you are, playing it safe.
Listen closely, He might be asking you to come to Him.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.