walking on {water}

18:58 Sarah Burton 0 Comments

{hey! here's a re-telling of what i spoke to my hometown youth group last week on calling, having faith, and doubt! Enjoy!}

What does it mean to take a risk for God? What prevents or keeps us from taking risks in our lives? I think we can say that most of the time we refuse to take risks because we are afraid. There are times in our lives when God calls us to take a risk – to step out of our “comfort zone” and to do something that is impossible for us to do by ourselves.

In the gospel of Matthew, Peter is called by Jesus to do something actually impossible. It is something that no normal person should be able to do. Peter is called to step out of his boat and to walk toward Jesus.

{read the full story here}

Peter is called out by Jesus to take a leap of faith – straight out of a boat and into a stormy sea. He had no control over the waves, he could only rely on his trust in Jesus. Peter was doing really well until he saw the chaos going on under his feet.

You see, Peter got distracted by the challenges he had to face while answering Jesus’ call by looking down at the water instead of keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus.

The problem for most of us is that when we are called to do something for God, for a while we might look to Him for guidance and trust, but soon we get distracted by other people, places, and things. We are crippled by the fear of failing, or we doubt that we can achieve what God has called us to do. Like Peter, when we take our eyes off of Jesus we begin to sink.

i've had an experience similar to Peter's more than once in my life. When you hear God plainly calling you take a risk for Him – you’re all excited about what God is going to do with your life and you want to tell everyone that you see about God and what He has done in your life at that camp, youth conference, or retreat, but then you get distracted. You still have homework to do, tests to study for, your mom yells at you for not cleaning your room all weekend, and all of the excitement that you had on Saturday seems to fade away. Everything going on around us distracts us, we forget to look back to God everyday – not just on a special weekend or on a youth night.

I suck at taking risks. When God calls me to do something, even if it is something small like praying with someone I don’t know very well, or even coming here to speak to you guys tonight. a few months ago, i felt a huge pull on my life and i was 100% sure of what and where God was leading me. for the first week or two after i had this awesome encounter where i was re-assured and uplifted, and i was back to my old sinful self looking to other people or things to find my calling.

Do you know my favorite part of the story of Peter walking on water? What happens when Peter fails, when he gets distracted by the waves and begins to sink?

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:29-31 NLT)
When Peter failed, as we all do, all he had to do was to call for help, and Jesus was still right there, ready to catch him.

You see, when we feel like we’ve failed at doing what God has called us to do, when we’ve gotten so distracted by life, He still wants to use us and is still there to pick us up and remind us that He is where our focus needs to be.

- Sarah