You know that story in Matthew 14:28-32 where Jesus walks on the water to the disciples in the boat on the stormy sea? After at first being terrified that they were seeing a ghost walking on the water, Jesus reassures them, saying “do not be afraid, it is I.” Peter says, “if it is really you Lord, let me come out and walk on the water with you.” I can picture Jesus’s warm smiling face saying “come”.. and Peter does. Until he sees the waves, boisterous and choppy, and he begins to sink.
Lately, I can’t seem to keep my eyes off the waves. The storms of my life. The bothersome choppy big & little struggles that we are in the middle of. Financial tough-spots. My (grown!) children’s struggles. The looming future hurdles to get over. My husband and I not seeing eye to eye on some things. Health issues.
Nothing super humongous in itself, but rough patches that don’t seem to let up. Choppy seas. Seas that in the midst of, Jesus has called me to get out of the boat and walk with Him on.
This blog. Shadowing Enoch. That is my sea right now. And Jesus wants me to walk on it.
But I keep seeing the waves.
Financial struggles are always a big one for us. My husband and I don’t always see eye to eye on how to manage money. I am a strict budget minded person. He is, well, not. We do ok for the most part, (after 34 years and raising 5 kids, we’ve had to, haha!) and have learned how to come to agreement most of the time, but it is always a source of potential disagreement & friction with us, especially when things are frustratingly tight, as they are right now. This is one of the waves I keep seeing.
Another wave is grown children and their decisions. Not my jurisdiction, you might say, and you’d be right. They are grown. They make their own decisions. But I love them and want them to be ok. The biggest wave I keep seeing is their placement of Christ in their lives. FIRST place is the right place and not all of them are putting Him there. So, I see this wave, chopping at my walk on the water, and it distracts me.
How to get everything done that needs to get done, not just today, but in the next month or two, or six. The looming Holiday season. Tax season… yes, I am already seeing the wave of taxes come up. Trips we have to take in the next few weeks. Health issues. Family issues. You know, just life. Worries. Schedules. Problems. Frustrations. Whatever the waves are, they are trying to grab my focus, and sadly, they succeed far too often.
Jesus keeps on gently telling me to keep my eyes on Him, not the waves.
Even after walking with Jesus for more than 4 decades, I struggle to be consistent with this! I have found that when I keep the following 7 things in mind, I do better to refocus my sight on Jesus, not the waves. Perhaps they will help you too!
1) Recognize that our eyes are on the waves, and not Jesus.
This first and foremost helps me to re-direct my focus. It reminds me to look up. Look at Jesus. Focus again on Him and His guidance & provision in my life. When I am in the midst of a worry filled tempest, I can hear Him gently remind me… “You’re looking at the waves, and not at Me.” – and it helps me to reset… some.
2) Of course…. PRAYER PRAYER PRAYER!
You may think this should have been number 1, but for me, number 1 leads straight in to number 2. I know that I can trust Jesus to shoulder my burden, and Prayer is the process for me letting it go and into His hands. But sometimes, this is a long, ongoing prayer… because I am not letting go as quickly or solidly as I need to. As I pray, I feel the burden start to lift. I may grab back at the worry multiple times, but keeping in a regular state of prayer, a “pray without ceasing,” state of mind! (1 Thess. 5:17) it helps me to slowly but surely let go of the worry and focus on Jesus and the water-walk He’s called me to.
3) Envision the other side, the answer, the end of the thing. (Whatever it is!)
This has always been a method I employ for whatever struggles I am going through, and it has always helped me. I look “ahead” to the other side of things. Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So, if I’m walking by faith, I can rely on the truth that, although I may not be able to see it clearly, God is working out all things for my good. I count on the valid premise that “if God has called me to it, He will help me through it.” This keeps my eyes on Jesus, and not on the problems, or choppy waves, all around me.
4) Acknowledge the steps on the water you have already taken.
Peter did walk on water! He had enough faith to get out of the boat, and although we are not told how many successful steps he took… I really wish that were part of the story, but I guess I understand why its not… he did walk a bit before he sank after focusing on the choppy waves, instead of Jesus. And then, Peter did walk back to the boat with Jesus too, let’s not forget. The sinking wasn’t the end of the story. Just a temporary glitch of focus in the middle. I hope, and like to imagine, that the actual walking was longer in time than the sinking. Of course, I am thankful for the truth that Jesus grabs us in the sinking moment too. But the walking! Oh that wonderful walking! I love that part 🙂
5) Remember the OTHER times when you have successfully “walked on water” with Jesus.
Big or small, there have been other times. Even if you are a brand new baby Christian, that in itself is a walk on water experience with Jesus. Total trust, total faith, total abandonment of yourself into Him. Oh yes, there HAVE been other times, and each time should help us build walking ability for the next times. Practice makes perfect, so they say.
6) Look at others who are walking on their water with Jesus.
Look at the rest of Hebrews chapter 11, also known as the Hall of Faith Chapter, and you will see how so many ordinary people were called into their “Faith Walk” with Jesus, and succeeded in bringing glory to God. These people were not so different from you and I. Gideon, is probably one of my favorites. He was sooooo scared, and yet here he is listed in this faith chapter. Because he did it! He focused on God, instead of the scary waves, and he was used by God to defeat the enemy. (Judges 6-7)
Not only our heroes from the Bible, but surely you can see others in your churches, or families, or communities who have walked in Faith with Jesus through the boisterous waves in their lives, and come through glorifying God. If they can do it, so can you and I. Because its not about you, or me, or them. Its about Jesus the Water-Walker!
7) Look back a few chapters to another “wavy” story.
Matthew 8:23-27 tells us about a time when Jesus was asleep in the bottom of a ship as a storm- a great tempest, the Bible calls it- grew. Grew so big as to make these experienced fishermen terribly afraid. Huge waves were crashing over the sides of the ship and tossing it too and fro.
They thought they were going to die!
Those were some mighty strong & scary waves. They awoke Jesus, and He, I think lovingly so, questioned them “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then He calmed their fears by calming the sea. “Peace, be still,” He said in a parallel Gospel. The same calmer-of-the-storm can calm the inner storm in me. I have experienced that multiple times. I am sure I will experience it multiple times more. This gives me great comfort, and helps me to keep my focus on Jesus, instead of the stormy worrisome waves.
There you have it! My 7 ways of re-setting my focus onto Jesus, after I am distracted by the waves; when I am called to walk on the water with Jesus in faith. The wave’s distractions happen often to me, but the redirecting of my focus happens more and more often now, thanks to practice and experience, and daily walking with my Savior.
One day…. I’m gonna just fly across that water without even looking down. (I love that scene on The Shack movie!) I long for, and look forward to, that type of totally focused faith in my life, where I am walking with my Savior in such close fellowship & unity (As Enoch did!) that nothing distracts me from the presence of my Best Friend. Not even the stormiest storms on Earth.
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