Walk on Water
The singing during last Sunday’s worship service made me nauseous. Literally.
A respiratory virus had triggered a mild recurrence of an inner ear problem. As the worship leaders began to play and sing, the lyrics were projected on a screen at the front of the sanctuary. Below the words was a video loop of waves, rising and falling, rising and falling. I tried to keep the nausea at bay by looking at the words and ignoring the rolling swell. The song began:
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
I tried to concentrate on the words, but I still noticed the motion in the periphery of my vision. I sat down, unwrapped a nausea-calming Life Saver mint, gaze averted to the floor, but the queasiness continued. I remembered the advice from months ago: Look up. I needed to focus on something stable, unmoving. I stood and fixed my eyes on the wooden cross and let the music wash over me.
* * * * *
The boat was far from the shore. The wind was against the disciples, and choppy waves buffeted the boat as they sailed across Galilee. Just before dawn Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. The disciples were understandably terrified.
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down.
Matthew 14:30-33 MSG
We often emphasize the fact that Peter’s faith drained away when he looked down, but I like to remember the impossible thing he did, even if just for a moment. Peter walked on water.
Then he lost his focus. His eyes dropped from Jesus to the terrifying waves underfoot. Like Peter, when we gaze intently on the true and beautiful thing that is right in front of us and focus on it, the rest of the world becomes blurred and hazy–even if it’s just for a moment.
* * * * *
This week I read another set of lyrical words on another screen. I learned about crying, bleeding, stolen, marketed girls, nine-years-young girls, windward of the ISIS storm. Ann Voskamp’s post of the horrors in Iraq left me reeling.
I also read a gut-wrenching news story about the flood of sex trafficking in my own state. The statistics are sickening. The reporter reminded viewers that the average age of entry into prostitution is twelve.
Letters swim, eyes cloud, and stomach churns. Mints can’t cure this kind of nausea.
Are we drowning in a flood of evil, feeling that we can do nothing against the black, oily tide of malevolence?
How can we make a difference?
How can we do an impossible thing? How can we walk on water?
Ann Voskamp challenged her readers to make contributions to Preemptive Love Coalition. Nearly a half million dollars has been given so far.
Jennifer Dukes Lee reminds us that “we are not powerless.” She summarized what we can do about Iraq, including using social media and giving to Samaritans Purse.
Wings of Refuge in Iowa focuses on the restoration of survivors of domestic sex trafficking. (There are probably similar ministries in your area.)
We can do impossible things.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
“Come” Jesus invites.
I will focus on Him,
step out of the safe boat,
and walk on water.
Photo of painting “Le Christ marchant sur la mer” by Amédée Varin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo of boat on water by Patricia Hunter pollywogcreek.blogspot.com/
Posted on May 21, 2015, in Devotional and tagged cross, impossible, Jesus, walk on water. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.
For some reason (unknown to me), I’ve read the story of Peter walking on water (while focused on Jesus!) three times in the last 24 hours (different devos)!!! I also read Ann and Jennifer’s posts…so heartbreaking but we can make a difference in Jesus’ name.
Perhaps the story of Peter is being stored up in your heart for a future application, Lynn?
Yes, the hundreds and thousands of us ordinary people working together can make a difference!
Thank you for using your words for the girls in need may fruit be produced over this writing!
Thank you for coming by to read, Joy! That is my prayer–that the seeds in my words may be planted, grow, and bear fruit.
We are not powerless. I love your post which gives us an outline of hope. We can act as Christians to make a difference. My first act, fall on my knees in prayer, prayer for those little girls lost. Thank you for this touching essay.
Mary, I’m glad you got a glimpse of the hope that exists despite the darkness of our world.
I think your first reaction to fall on your knees and pray is right. Too often we pray as an afterthought, not a way to communicate with the King of Kings.
Hi Constance- I’m so glad I finally found you over at Tell His Story! “Oceans” is one of my favourites at the moment, and I always seem to glean something more from it each time I study the words. “In oceans deep- my faith will stand”. You are absolutely right- there are so many heartbreaking issues surrounding us right now, it’s hard to imagine we can make a sizeable difference. Yet in the midst of it all, our faith will stand, not because we are strong but because GOD is. He’s the object of our faith, and He has the power to move mountains. Or save young girls from horrific futures. But He calls us out into the ocean, which require us to move. Thanks so much for bringing this song to life again for me… and I really hope your inner ear problem clears up pronto! Blessings to you 🙂
Thanks so much for reading, Laura! It’s so easy to get discouraged by the wind and the waves of the evil storms in our fallen world. We need to look up at our God, keep him in focus. Then we can do impossible things/walk on water.
You are so right. I get overwhelmed by the waves of trouble and brokenness and forget that He calls me to walk above them- on the water. Thanks for your beautiful words and much-needed reminder to keep our focus on Him.
Thanks, Karen! I appreciate your encouragement. I’m mostly preaching to myself, but I see I have company. I’m praying we all have courage to step out of the boat.
“We can do impossible things. Oh, yes… Thank you, Constance Ann! I am so encouraged by you.
I am so glad these words could be an encouragement, Jennifer! I wonder how many wondrous, yet “impossible” dreams have been set aside because we think we can’t. Let’s encourage each other in the body of Christ–together we can walk on water.