Thursday, May 1, 2014

To Walk on Water

Let me tell you, this has been one tough season, but one that hasn't knocked me completely down to where I can't get back up.

Aaron and I have been through some of the toughest moments, but everything pales in comparison to the storm that is raging around us right now. I know that God has a purpose and a plan that far exceeds these moments that feel like complete torture, but I also know that He is drawing us closer to Him and making us really aware of who He is.

If there has ever been a season where God has really spoken loudly, its this one. Mine and Aarons hearts are to be in ministry in the worship aspect and while I thought I was ready for something that huge once I graduated a few years ago, I am realizing how far I have come since then and how even when I thought I was ready, God had a few more things that He needed to teach both Aaron and I.

The message for this season is to have faith enough to get out of the boat and walk on the water, and to keep trusting and to keep your eyes locked on His when you feel like giving up, when you feel like looking down, when you feel like circumstances are running the race in your life. I have always been a worrier, and a doubter, and one who stresses easily when plans are changed and things haven't gone the way that I planned it in my mind. I like comfort. I like feeling secure and I like knowing that everything is going to go according to how I see it. When plans change, and things fall apart and life doesn't go in the direction I really thought it would, I would fall apart. I would question God and get angry with Him. I would feel like He left me high and dry and really if I was honest, to to live a life in ministry, things will never go according to how you want it, and if you don't know who HE is and what His Word says to get you through the storm, you will quit every time it gets hard.

God takes you through barren, difficult seasons to show you another side of who He is, and to also teach us to trust in Him and to know that He is good and has our best interest at heart.

I love the story in Matthew 14:22-33 when Jesus calls Peter to come out on the water with Him. The disciples had been in a huge storm and when Jesus saw how frightened they were, He went to them walking on water. At first the disciples didn't recognize who Jesus was, they had mistaken Him for a ghost. Jesus tells them in verse 27 "Do not be afraid, take courage, I am here!" The disciples then put Him to the test to prove who He was, and Peter calls out to Him "Lord, if its really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water." Jesus replies to Peter and says "Come." We know that Peter gets out of the boat and is walking towards Jesus, but as he sees a strong wind coming and the waves getting bigger, he takes his eyes off of Jesus and looks around at what is happening, and as he is looking at what is in front of him, he begins to sink. And ever so gently, like He always does, Jesus reaches out and grabs onto Peter, but He also questions Peter about the lack of faith Peter just had in Jesus.

Have you doubted?
I have.

This message is for this season in my life. God is calling me, Aaron and us together to get out of the boat and follow after Him. It hasn't been easy, and theres times that I have taken my eyes off of Jesus and looked at what lies in front of me, and the truth is, every time I look at how impossible everything looks in the midst of our storm, I am overcome with fear and doubt. Every time my eyes are locked on to His, peace and joy follow.

Before God even called Peter to get out on to the water, He first tells them do not be afraid. God would say the same thing to us do not be afraid to get out of that boat, or to take that leap of faith to what I am calling you to do next. He warns us first, because He knows that if we aren't locked onto Him, the storm will completely take us out.

God commissions us for great moments. He called us to do greater works than He did, and He didn't say that we wouldn't face trials, but He said that when we do face trials, to rejoice and to know that in and through it all, He is still good and He is still with us, that He will never leave nor forsake us.

I love how at first Peter is probably thinking that he is going to get out of the boat and all is going to be ok because Jesus has him, and I like how soon as he gets going, God tests Him, and in that test we see just how much faith Peter really does have. When those waves starting getting bigger, immediately Peter becomes more concerned about the waves and the wind then the God who just called Peter to come to Him, but even when Peter began sinking, God still saved Peter. God was still right there with Peter. God was with Peter at the same time that He was rescuing Him.

He is with you while He is coming to rescue you. God walks right on top of the stuff that you think is going to take you out and if you don't know who He is, you will mistake the One who is coming to rescue you as a ghost that is coming to destroy you. (Christine Caine)

God is still there for me and for those of you reading that are in a tough place. God will not let you completely be taken out by your present circumstance. He may use that very circumstance to test you and while you may let yourself sink to the deepest parts of that circumstance, God is still holding on and waiting for you to realize that He is the only one that will pull you through and keep you going.

God is commissioning me for a greater purpose than what I realize, and even though these last few months look nothing like what I thought would be the plan, God is quickly teaching me that no matter  how hard it is, I have to keep trusting. Even when fear keeps me paralyzed in place, I have to keep trusting and knowing that He is going to bring me to my destiny.

A walk with Christ is a journey of trusting and believing even when you can't see Him. The key to getting through it all is knowing the identity of who He is, because when you know that He is for you, its easier to know that what He is doing is for your own good. Everything He does is always for our good. Always.

You will lift my head above the mighty waves
You are able to keep me from stumbling
And my weakness
you are the strehgth that comes from within
Good shepherd of my soul
Take my hand and lead me on

You make my footsteps and my path secure
So walking on water is just the beginning
Cause my faith to arise, stand at attention
For You are calling me to greater things
-Shepherd by Bethel