You will probably be quite familiar with the Sunday School favourite story of Jesus walking on water, found in Matthew 14.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them [the disciples were in a boat on the lake], 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.
While this may be a familiar passage, in his book Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell puts a fresh spin on things in his unique, short sentence style.
“So this disciple [Peter] gets out on the water and he starts to sink, so he yells, “Jesus save me!”
And Jesus says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Who does Peter lose faith in?
Not Jesus; Jesus is doing fine.
Peter loses faith in himself.
Peter loses faith that he can do what his rabbi is doing“[Velvet Elvis pg 133]
God wants to use us. He has plans for our life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). This plan is not a random plan – there is a reason behind it. God didn’t just randomly pair up people with plans. He knows what you are capable of, what skills you have, even how many hairs are on your head. He has devised the plans He has for your life because you can achieve them. It is not an impossible plan. It may seem impossible to us in our own strength, but we are not alone! God is with us, and with God ‘nothing is impossible’ (Luke 1:37).
But do we have faith in ourselves? We can have faith in God, faith that He is there, that He cares for us, that He loves us; but do we have faith in our own abilities, or will we sink the moment we step out of our comfort zone/boat and get confronted by the wind of opposition? Will we choose to listen to the devil when he tries to bring us down, telling us we aren’t good enough, telling us our plans will fail, or will we listen to God when He says “I chose you!”?
Standing before Goliath with just a sling shot David had faith that God would protect him. He also had faith that he could do what God had called him to do.
God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. If God has called you he will give you the ability to live out the calling. Do you have the faith in your ability? Do you believe that whatever situation you find yourself in, God will equip you, if you trust Him to?
The good news is of course, if we do lose faith, if we do start to sink, the moment we cry out to God he will reach out and save us. He will not let us drown.
Will you step out onto the water this week with full assurance that you can do whatever God calls you to do? And if you can feel yourself sinking, will you have the humility to cry out for help and acknowledge that you need Jesus’ help?