"GOD, I'M SO DONE!"
"WHY IS IT THAT WHEN I DO MY PART, YOU NEVER COME THROUGH AND DO YOURS?"
"I ALWAYS HAVE TO TAKE MATTERS INTO MY OWN HANDS. AND YOU WONDER WHY I DON'T TRUST YOU?"
Now, I know you're way more spiritual than I am so you've probably never said anything like what I just wrote. But for the sake of me being honest and vulnerable with you, bare with me for a bit.
I recently re-read the story of Peter walking on the water. You know it - everyone else is freaking out and Peter calls out to Jesus saying, "if it's You, tell me to come out on the water."
I love Peter. He's so dumb. Too dumb to realize it's impossible. But smart enough to know when destiny is calling.
I can relate with Peter.
Can you picture this for a second? This guy is walking on water while all of his friends are in the boat crying their eyes out. James and John are cuddled in the corner and Thomas is on the floor in the fetal position... all the while, Peter is doing his thing. Started from the bottom he's here.
And then... it all goes to hell.
The water slowly begins to rise from his feet...
to his ankles...
to his knees - he's sinking.
STOP RIGHT THERE.
Let's break this down for a second. Peter didn't jump out of the boat on his own accord. He didn't move before God. He didn't step out in arrogance. He called out to God and God called back. He simply answered the invitation.
GOD was the one who told him to step out. So why the heck is He letting Peter sink before His very eyes?
This is the problem I have with this story. Let's be honest - we've all lived a bit of life. We've all gone through stuff. We don't have unrealistic expectations - sometimes, things go wrong. But that's not what's happening here. Jesus called Peter to walk on water and Peter is sinking.
It wasn't the circumstance that was failing Peter. It was the God who called him INTO his circumstance that was failing Peter.
Or at least that's what it seemed like.
A little less than a month ago, I made a move across the country to Dallas, Texas, all in response to the call of God. I didn't want to leave where I was at. Life was great. I loved my church. I had awesome friends. Things were going well.
But I said yes. I know when God speaks and I know enough to obey and follow through when He tells me to do something. It felt as if I was being called out of the boat. I took the step fully believing God to do the miraculous.
But can I be honest with you? Ever since that decision, it felt like wave after wave crashed into me from every side and all I could do is sink down to the bottom.
There. That's honesty. Sorry if I just ruined your super-Christian view of my life. But it hasn't been fun. In fact, most of it has really sucked.
And that's why I identify with Peter. I know I'm not perfect, and I'm sure Peter felt the same. I know my eyes aren't always on Jesus. But HE called me out. HE is responsible for getting me to where He called me to go. And sometimes it doesn't feel like He's kept up His end of the bargain.
.... selah ...
But if I were to really get down to the issue in my heart, it would be this:
I don't genuinely believe that God loves me and will be faithful to get me to where I need to go.
And the truth is, without the storm, I would never have realized my private doubt.
Sometimes, God will send us into storms not to eliminate our faith but to expose our fears. You see, God won't give us more than what we can handle - to the point of destroying us, but He will bring us to the end of ourselves to expose the stuff that's really inside. God uses the storm to reveal what's down deep: hidden unbelief.
"Peter... why did you doubt?"
How quick are we to doubt God the moment things start to go differently than we had planned? How quick are we to judge His character when He works in ways we don't understand? I do this often. I have a certain expectation of how God is supposed to move in my life and when He doesn't do it that way, I question His motives and methods. But you don't need to understand motives or methods when you are sure of the heart behind them both.
I needed to recalibrate my heart to trust in His again. And once I realized that God would never let me sink, it made sense as to why He would let me stumble....
It was never about getting somewhere... it was all about grasping Someone.
We can be so focused on our walk TO God that we forget it's a walk WITH God. He's not as concerned with our performance as He is with our proximity to His Presence. He's more interested in meeting us in the midst of our mess than He is watching us work for Him.
I don't know where you're at today. I don't know what you're going through. And to be honest, I don't have an answer for you as to why you're going through it. What I do have is a willingness to walk alongside you and say, "me too - let's keep trusting Jesus."
The truth is that God hasn't left you. He isn't cruel and mean and putting you through hell for kicks and giggles. He loves you and He wants the best for you. And maybe Jesus knows that it's worth more to let you step out and stumble than to let you stay stagnant and stationary.
Maybe it's in your weakness that the strength of His hand, reaching out to you, is revealed in a way that you would never know outside of the moment of fear and failure.
And maybe you'll look back one day on this season and say to those who are in the middle of a storm...
"it was never about getting somewhere,
it was all about grasping Someone.
It was in the storm that I realized my unbelief,
and it was in the storm that I realized His unending faithfulness.
He's never left me,
and He won't leave you now.
He's always loved me,
and He loves you more than you feel in this moment.
So stop trying to swim on your own.
Just reach out and grab hold of Him."