Ahh. The beach. There is no where else like it. We recently had a vacation at Cocoa Beach, FL. It was my 2 year old's first time at the ocean. We assumed he'd love it because he loves the pool. He surprised us by being scared of the ocean.
"It's coming, mommy!" He kept yelling at the waves as they crashed, one by one, into the shore and into him.
He was afraid to go into the ocean alone. But if my husband or I picked him up and brought him out, he was happy. He became content to jump the waves and play with us and his siblings, as long as we had a hold of him.
Yes, if you'd ask Max, he'd rather just play in the sand...a safe distance from the ocean's waves.
My friend, what do we miss out on because we choose to stay in the sand? Jesus is calling. After all Jesus said, "I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit" (John 15:16a). He is talking to all believers, not just preachers or missionaries or teachers or doctors. The apostle Paul seconds Jesus' words. "Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God" (Ephesians 4:1).
God is calling you deeper, out into the ocean. You have been called.
A scene from the book of Matthew jumps out at me as I write this. In chapter 14 the disciples find themselves out on a stormy sea. Verse 24 tells us a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting large waves. It was in the middle of the night. Needless to say, the disciples were terrified. To make matters worse, they thought they saw a ghost walking toward them on the water!
It was no ghost. It was Jesus, walking on the water. He said, "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here!" (Matthew 14:27).
After they realized it was Jesus, Peter became courageous and bold. He wanted to walk on the water to Jesus. Jesus said, "Yes, come" (v. 29).
So Peter came out of the boat and walked on the water. Picture it in your mind. Try to imagine what this scene looked like. Peter edged one foot over the side of the boat and then the other. Meanwhile, the waves continued to swell and the wind blew. He kept his eyes on Jesus and started walking toward Him. Then I think he got a little nervous. He started looking around and noticed the waves and the wind. Maybe he looked back at the others still in the boat. Either way, when he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink.
Of course Jesus saved him. And when Jesus got into the boat with Peter, the storm stopped.
I have always loved that story. The idea of walking on water, of defying the laws of nature, is fascinating. But as an adult, I'm touched by what Jesus said.
He said, "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here!"
These are great words to cling to. We are called to go deeper with God. We are called to embark on a mission, whatever that may be for each one of us. The truth is, when God calls it is scary. If we didn't feel apprehensive about stepping out for God, why would we need Him at all?
God knows we need Him. He says to each one of us the same words Jesus spoke to the disciples.
Don't be afraid - It is human nature to worry, to feel out of control when faced with stress or challenges. God says over and over again in the Bible, "Don't be afraid." We, like Peter, look at our chaotic, scary surroundings and we're afraid. What gives us any reason to actually stop being afraid? It's in the fact that God is always with us.
Take courage - There comes a moment in every calling when we must take the first step. God calls us, but it is our choice to come to Him. We have to get out of the boat. God's presence and perfect plan are the only things that can give true courage.
I am here - This is the most important phrase we can hear. God is always with us. He will never leave us, for His Spirit lives within us. And like in the story with Peter, He catches us when we sink.
So, if Peter heard those words, why did he sink? Jesus tells him had had little faith (v. 31). Peter had begun to doubt Jesus.
It seems so silly of Peter. We read that story and think, "Silly, Peter! You were with Jesus! Why were you afraid?" But it's no different for us. We are with God. He personally goes with us everywhere we go.
It's like my son. He did not want to take that step into the ocean alone. But when he knew his dad was carrying him, he was ready to go out. And when he did, it was worth it.
We go with God wherever we go. He calls us, and He meets us. When He calls, we never go alone. There is something amazing, something better than we could dream, out there in the waves with God. It's like walking on water.
So no matter what you're facing, remember Jesus' words. "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here!"
Hi, I'm Kristen! Just a girl who loves all things Jesus, family, music and food!
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