After living comfortably in our home for 7 years, my family and I heard loud and clear that the Lord wanted us to “step out of the boat” and believe Him for a new adventure. One thing led to another and we listed our house. Within 3 days we received 4 offers, and handed the keys over to the new owners 30 days later! We are now renting, as my 5-year-old calls it, a “cozy” townhome and loving every second. Waiting for the next step that God has for us for His perfect purpose.
Will YOU get out of the boat?
We all know the story about Peter walking on water, pretty well. I mean, it’s one of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible. But a couple of things were brought to my attention this past year that I’ve never really considered. Can I share them with you today?
So let’s preface: Jesus needed time alone to pray. He told all 12 disciples to get in a boat and meet him on the other side. No questions asked, they found a boat and got in. They’re strutting along, for a while, and it gets dark. They fall asleep and 4 am (ish) rolls around, when they hear a sound – they wake up and see a “Ghost”. Afraid, they started crying out in terror. Jesus, walking towards them says, “Have courage, it’s me, don’t be afraid.” Peter responded with, “Is it really you, Teacher?” Jesus said, “come”. Peter got out of the boat and walked towards him.
A couple of things I can relate to immediately. They’re on the boat in the dark, in water that wasn’t so calm that night. They managed to fall asleep, deep sleep as “the 4th hour” was mentioned in the text. 4 am? I know that hour, that’s the hour my 6-month-old likes to wake up to eat most nights. It’s the hour that I’m in my deeper sleep, If I’m lucky, I’m in the middle of a dream! Baby cries and my eyes open immediately before my brain can even wake up. Sluggishly, I’m walking towards her room and hope to God there is nothing in my pathway that I will step on, or a corner I will run into. In other words, not all the way awake – it’s the hour of the night that is still pitch black and no one wants to wake up (other than hungry babies). So for them to hear a noise that was recognized differently than the waves, did they wake only to still see darkness all around? Maybe some fog or mist? They see something in the distance and they immediately assume it’s a negative thing – a Ghost. Yea…. If I saw something that looked like a ghost during our 4 am feeding, I would probably pee my pants. Panic mode for sure! But Jesus calls out to them and tells them to not be afraid and communicated to them that it was Him, Jesus. No one responded other than Peter, “Is that really you? If it is, let me come to you”. Jesus says, “come”. Peter stepped out while the others sat back and watched, probably in disbelief, thinking ‘of course it would be Peter pulling a stunt like this!’ Peter gets a bad rap in the Bible, he is hot-tempered, irrational, and fickle at times. But what I see here is 1 out of the 12 stepping out to the unknown, to the uncomfortable, to the foreign. One. Just by simple faith that it could possibly be Jesus, while the others around him making accusations of it being a ghost. We know what happens next, he walks on water and now it is one of the most popular stories told. But how cool would it have been to know that all 12 recognized His voice? I mean, they’ve been with Jesus this whole time. You think they would have recognized His voice by then!
As for me? I don’t want to sit in the sidelines. I want to be the one to hear & act. The fear is though, what if I respond, but it’s not His voice? Well. if you hear it, and you have faith in it, and it’s NOT Him, It’s ON Him. Not on you. My job is not to evaluate the voice, my job is to respond. Once my job is done – that’s when He can reciprocate in response to my faith. l love that.
Let’s re-evaluate our lives this season. This beautiful, chaotic season of Christmas. There are waves, and there is noise. From gift shopping, horrendous traffic everywhere, last-minute service planning, travel, family gatherings, kids, messes, hectic schedules, to glorious, high calorie-d Christmas cookies – it’s easy to turn off our ears to hear what God is saying. To see Him in the distance, to recognize His voice. But I encourage you today, act on the prompting! Don’t second guess yourself, allow that faith to be built up. Each time you respond, the voice will become more and more recognizable. That prompting you hear about paying for the coffee for the car behind you? Act on it. The $5 bill you have In the glove compartment calling your name when you see someone down on their luck on the corner? Give it. These moments will never be taken for granted. It’s just the journey of recognition, the still small voice, that shadow in the distance that will soon become more clear and stable. I pray this for all of us as the body of Christ. May joy and peace reside in your heart today, throughout this season, and into the coming New Year. Merry Christmas!