March 8th Devotion

God Will Call You Out of the Boat
By Jessica Van Roekel

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” - Matthew 14:30-31, ESV.

One of my daughters didn’t like it when I declared, “Let’s go on an adventure!” She was five and afraid of getting lost, but we always made it back home. She needed to trust that I knew where I was going and what I was doing. Fear of the unknown can create a feeling of distrust in our hearts. We ask, “What if it doesn’t work out? What if we fail? What if we get lost?”

After the feeding the five thousand, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, but he stayed behind to dismiss the crowds and spend time in prayer. Later that windy night when the boat was a long way from land, Jesus headed toward them walking on the water. This miracle terrified the disciples, but brash and bold Peter asked Jesus to confirm his identity by commanding Peter to get out of the boat and walk to him. So, Jesus did, and Peter stepped out of the boat.

There have been times in my life when I felt the Lord calling me out of the boat and to walk toward him. After my miscarriage, it was to walk the waters of grief. Later, when I was pregnant again, it was to walk the waters of trust. Life is full of adventures, but not every adventure leads us in a straight path. Sometimes they lead us through ravines and along cliffs. The winds of uncertainty and fear and unknowns buffet us, and we lose sight of Jesus.

The Bible has story after story that lays down evidence after evidence of the power of fixing our eyes on the Lord to provide what we need when we need it. Abraham is one of them. God called him to leave his homeland and go to a new land. Abraham went. God promised him descendants as numerous as the stars through his son, Isaac. But then God asked him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. And Abraham did.

Can you imagine the difficulty these two commands created? Yet, Abraham kept his focus on the Lord. He left his homeland and lived a nomad’s life. He climbed the rocky mountain, built an altar, bound his son, and trusted God to provide a burnt offering. This was an adventure that took him to a deeper place of trust and confirmed his belief that God keeps his promises. His hope in God held firm.

When Peter first climbed out of the boat, he kept his eyes on Jesus. Bold Peter walked on water as the wind and waves raged around him. He walked into the storm. He made it to Jesus. But then the wind pierced his laser-beam focus on the Lord and he began to sink. Sometimes God calls us to do something impossible, like walk the road of grief or step into a new calling, and when we focus on the Lord, our steps remain firm.

Sometimes, though, the distractions of the unknowns in new adventures cause us to lose our footing. In these moments, we don’t have to sink because Jesus reaches down to pull us up. Grief can overwhelm us with its waves, and we sink deep into depression. New paths can overwhelm us with the fear of failure, and we sink deep into perfectionism. But when we look up and fix our eyes on Jesus, he enables us to walk through the winds and the waves. He grabs our hand and lifts us up. Our trust in him grows with each wave we walk over. It’s a daily choice to fix our eyes on him.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
What are you facing today? Has God called you to step out of the boat and to walk by faith? The winds might be blowing strong against you, but Jesus is your firm foundation. You might be wondering how this new adventure will turn out, but God is your provider. He is your strength, your joy, and your refuge. Like Peter, we can step out of the boat and face the wind. Like Abraham, we can have faith that God will provide. Set your distractions aside and fix your eyes on Jesus. He is mighty to save.
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