Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Get Out Of The Boat!

I wrote this piece as a submission for our church's Advent Devotional booklet. Now that Advent is passed, it is still a matter of deep spiritual awakening for me and I still want to share it. So I am posting it to my Faith blog here to share. I know some people who are currently going through what my family endured in the year of 2010. It was a dark period, but it strengthened my faith and is part of who I have become. We are all products of our experience. When we have Faith in God, he uses that experience to shape us into stronger individuals and Disciples. There is also a song by Casting Crowns that is dear to me and in line with the verse below and the sermon I mention below. The song is The Voice of Truth. The lyrics are at the end of my posting.

Matthew 14:30-31 ESV
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

The story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus was just an abstract story until I heard it told by Gerald Watford in a sermon at our church. At the time, I was going through one of the worst storms my family and I had ever faced. My husband had been unemployed for several months, with only a few sporadic contract jobs to keep us afloat. I had faith that God would bring us through it, but there were times when that faith waned. During that year, there were weeks when we survived on grilled cheese and ramen noodles, months when I ran to the door every time I heard a loud truck pass the house, fearing it was the repo man coming for our cars. For the first half of that year, we seemed to be one step ahead of disaster; there was always just enough to put food on the table, keep the repo man at bay and the lights on, but the mortgage was beyond our means. We very nearly lost our home.

I became so weary of the storm, that there were days I just didn't want to keep going. But these words saved me: "Get out of the boat!" It became a mantra. It became a daily reminder, to be strong in my faith, to trust Jesus, for he would not let us be lost in the storm. And we were not lost. I have no doubt it was God who kept disaster at bay. It was a tough year, but we came through it, and the lessons God set out to teach us hit home. We are much stronger now as a family, with a clear realization of what is really important, and what is just 'fluff'. I learned how to let go, and let God lead. One of the hardest things for me in my life has been worrying and stressing out when I am not in control. Well, that was an entire year that I was not in control, and it was hard. But when the storm passed and we saw the sun again, I knew it was God who brought us through it, and not I. There is a poster on my cubicle wall at work: "If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it." Absolutely He will.

The story of Matthew 14: 22-33 was brought to life in that sermon by Gerald,  and has been one of those messages in the Bible that will stay with me now forever. When I feel myself being drawn into a storm, or feeling worried or stressed, I remind myself: Get out of the boat. Step out on faith and trust Jesus. He will not let me sink. I have learned that there is no storm as big as my God, and no ocean strong enough to sweep me out to sea as long as I stand on the rock that is Jesus. I know now that I have more blessings than I could ever count, and our Church, the Church family and its leaders are some of the brightest jewels in that bag of blessings.

The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

1 comment:

  1. Faith is not easy even when times are good. Holding onto faith in storms can be even harder. I've learned to take time, even in the middle of a storm, to be quiet and listen. The answer always comes.