It has been one of those weeks where I have had to bring out my old Bible. You know that Bible you haven't seen since high school and carried you through seasons of finding yourself and finding God in sticky mud? The Bible that has everything under the sun highlighted and noted? Yes-- that one.
This week, it has been my lifeline.
Jesus Walks on the Water: Matthew 14
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 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. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
My heart is heavy because I am Peter. I really pray that you are, too. I pray that you have taken a step out onto the water and sunk. I pray that you have realized that you are not enough alone. I pray that you can see your weakness plain as day and your desperate need for God so clearly.
You are not enough alone. You are only enough when Jesus is your lifeline.
During my time this week in my "old Bible", I have spent a significant amount of time reading in the book of Zechariah. Though I have read the Bible three times through (and a million chapters in segments) since, I always find myself drawn to the grit and rawness. I see the verses "let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built" and "so I will save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong." It was God, my friends... it was He who reached down from the Heavens to say "you, my child, are chosen. You were chosen from the beginning of time to do the great and mighty work I have for you... but that fear does not belong in the dwelling place of my Spirit."
Why, oh Lord, am I so afraid?
I think of Peter and how he began to sink when he saw the wind. How he stepped out on the water and as soon as his foot slipped, he panicked and said "Lord, save me!" Jesus gripped onto His hand and He drew him out of the engulfing waters.
There are going to be times, my friends, when God will tell you to "come." Times when God will wreck us from the inside out and break down all the barriers we have built to show us why we are not enough alone. Too many people are afraid of this statement, but I am not... I will scream it from the mountain tops.
You and I are not enough. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot strengthen ourselves. We cannot keep ourselves afloat.
Only Jesus can.
The God of the universe cuts a channel for the rain and clears a path for the roaring storms. He sends rain to the deserted lands where no man steps foot and cares for the wildflowers that no eyes have ever even seen. He gives orders to the morning and places every animal and human where they belong in this world.
It is your God who arms you with strength and makes your way not perfect, but worth it. It is your God who roughens our feet to walk freely on the rocky terrain and trains our hands for the battle. The battle against flesh and blood. The battle against fear, anxiety, weakness, and pain. He arms us with strength and commands us with burning fire in His eyes "you must be brave and come to me on crashing waves." Confidence and authority spilling out like the most dangerous and life-threatening bodies of water. Our confident commander who richly refines us through fire is calling YOU to step out of the boat.
I pray that you are listening.
I will praise you, oh Lord, for you counsel me even when I do not want it nor deserve it. Your Spirit awakens me in the dead of night and sets my soul on fire. He prepares the way before me and surrounds me all the days of my life. In you, oh Lord, we take refuge. In you, oh Lord, we hide in the shadow of your wings.
Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise and your foundations with lapis lazuli."
Awake, my God, I need thee every hour.