"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Soul Food : Staying Afloat

"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'"
- Matthew 14 : 30

This is our portion of the scripture for the week. 
We all know the story: Jesus went to pray by himself and told His disciples to cross to the other side with the boat ahead of Him but they were confronted with a storm and Jesus met them in it by walking on the water. At first they though it was a ghost, but when they say it was Him, Peter asked Him to call Him to come out and Jesus did and Peter too, stood on water.
It's a Sunday school story we are all aware of but our familiarity with this story could be a stumbling block to truly getting the meaning behind it.

There are five key things in this passage I want to share with you :

● Firstly, when the disciples realized it was Jesus walking on water, it was only Peter that went the extra mile : "'Lord, if it’s you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'" (verse 28). Now why was he the only one that asked to come out of the boat with Jesus? And why did he ask Jesus, why didn't he just jump out to see if he would also walk on it. Isn't this what most of us would do these days? Just imagine the scene? Wouldn't you have also tried getting out just to test it or wouldn't we have just kept quiet and watched in total disbelief?
Two things are to be remembered from this :
1. we have to be willing to step out of the boat. Jesus is never, and I mean, never, drag us out of it. We have to believe in Him, believe He is before we can truly experience Him and his mighty wonders in our life.
2. it takes the grace of God to believe. That was the case with Peter. If Jesus had not called Him out, I don't believe Peter would have walked on water. In the same way, it truly takes the grace of God to believe and follow Him no matter what, even through the storm, trusting Him and giving it all to Him, even when we do not understand how He does it.

● Secondly, Peter had faith. If Peter had been faithless, he would have sunk right from the beginning, even with his conviction that it was Jesus that was walking on water. But even the little faith, the tiny faith he had, kept him on the waters. Imagine that...Peter, frightened and in awe like the rest yet was able to build enough faith to stay afloat. Brothers and sisters, if we want to stay afloat through the storms of life, we have to have faith, there is no other way. In fact, Peter's faith began when he asked Jesus to call Him out of the boat. If he didn't have faith, he would have stayed mute like the rest. It's the case with us believers today, we are convinced God is able yet, we are dangerously lacking in faith. With belief you can agree that Jesus healed the sick but with faith, you know he has healed you!

● Thirdly, without faith, we will sink! Yes, Peter began to sink only when his faith began to fail him. "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'"
Note that it's not written, "Peter began to sink then he was afraid", no. His fear was before his sinking, in fact, it was the very cause! He lost faith. He saw the wind, and suddenly, he lost his faith. Isn't it the case with us Christians these days. We have faith for a while, but when things get tough, or tougher, we loose heart. That is why I said earlier that it is dangerous to loose faith, even especially more in this fast declining world we live in. Remember, without faith, we cannot get anything from God (James 1 : 7) so we better stick to it. Even Jesus told Peter, "'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'" (verse 31). It is not enough to have faith, but we have to keep our faith going, we have to continue to fan the flame and keep it growing. Don't forget, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" 
(Romans 10 : 17).
Another lesson to hold on to is that, fear is the opposite of faith. You cannot be afraid, you cannot be fretting or worrying and then say, "yes I have faith." By being afraid, you are doubting God and the consequence is sinking.

● Jesus will always be there to help us, even in our time of faithlessness. When the world fails us, and even our faith is nowhere to be found, Jesus will always be in that storm, ready to pull us out. BUT we have to call on Him. Peter called out, "Lord, save me" and it is written, "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him." (verse 31). The immediately in that sentence makes me smile and warm all over. Jesus didn't wait a second longer, but instead reached out and caught Him. Even when we see we are sinking, Jesus will always be there to help us, only if we realize it and call out to Him.

 Lastly (but not least), for Jesus to have just reached out and caught him, it means Peter was just centimeters, not even a meter from Jesus. It doesn't say Jesus got to him immediately or anything like that (either way, distance would not have been a problem for Jesus) but rather He reached out. This sends out  a very important message. Peter started out with a little bit of faith and just when he was about to get to Jesus, his faith ran out. This means, faith is a sort of fuel. It's the fuel we need to stay afloat in this world. And isn't it always like that? Just when we are about to get to our destination, our faith fails. It's always when we are so close to our destiny and goals that the wind blows harder and we loose all our faith. This reminds me of the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25 : 1 - 13). Their lamps is their faith. The wise ones had an extra measure of faith to overcome all the trials and storms of this world but the other ones didn't have enough faith, so they were not ready when the bridegroom came. It is truly faith that can, like a lamp, guide us through this world and keep us afloat. 
Don't give up now, your destination is only nearer and it only get's harder as you are about to reach it. Ask yourself this : why didn't Peter see the violent winds before? 
The answer is : it's not that he didn't, he must have but with faith he didn't perceive such things. It was only when his faith began to die down that he saw it and then he became afraid and doubted.
You see that?
Faith and fear cannot cohabit and it's only when faith has gone, that we begin to see the things that only faith can blind. Why are they blocked from our view? Because they are irrelevant. That's faith. It doesn't matter what the economy says, you are rich through Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter what your doctor said, you are healed in Jesus' name. It doesn't even matter if you lost your womb years ago, you will become the mother of many. 
That is faith.
With faith Jesus said we can "...say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17 : 20), even with "faith as small as a mustard seed".

May God help us stay afloat through whatever different situations we might be going through, even until the very end, by His grace and His awesome power! 
Amen!

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4 comments:

  1. Amen and thank you. Very inspirational~

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  2. Glory be to God sis! I'm glad it was of help to you!

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  3. ...was reading abt faith yesterday...God bless this word and teach us daily to have faith in Him..Amenn!!

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  4. @ xflashinLITESx : AMEEN to that sis!!

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