A friend asked me to design a cross stitch pattern for her. It said: “Stress — when my heart says no and my mouth says yes.”
We can get ourselves into the most stressful situations. My sister called me last week after saying yes to someone who needed computer expertise, but after volunteering, she realized she did not have the necessary skills. “Now what do I do?” At least she was laughing.
When Jesus asked Peter to walk on water, he didn’t have the necessary skills either, but he stepped out anyway . . .
(Jesus) said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:29–30)
Peter’s stress came when he took his eyes off Jesus and realized what he had said yes to and the danger he was in. While we excuse him by saying “at least he got out of the boat” — there is a sense of both identification and envy in my heart when I read this story.
How many times has God asked me to do something beyond my skills? How many times have I said yes and took that step? How many times have I made excuses and said the thing was beyond my skill level?
I like what Peter did, even that he became fearful in the middle of it. He was walking with Jesus and had enough faith to take risks and to discover the power of God, even when he had no power himself. That is living. It is an adventure beyond any other. If those who crave excitement followed Jesus, there would be no need for shooting the rapids in a kayak, taming wild horses, driving fast cars, walking tightropes, or jumping out of airplanes. Life would be rich in adventure.
This is where the envy comes in. I’m basically a coward. Walking with Jesus on level, solid soil is often a challenge, never mind following Him on water or even into unfamiliar territory. BUT the few times that I have said yes when my fearful self was saying no taught me the power of God. He never lets me down or drown.
Of course, like Peter it is important to keep my eyes on the Lord. However, even if I don’t (and falter), that turns into a learning experience. I find out what I am really trusting (myself in some way or another) and have another thing to confess. Because of His great promise, this becomes a cleansing and growing experience . . .
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Some might say taking my eyes off Jesus is not a sin, but I think it is. Sin is going my own way and doing my own thing. There is no better place for it to show up then when Jesus calls me to walk His way and I decide that I’d rather not!