Peter stepped out of the boat when the Lord said, “Come.” And I wonder:
How far away did Jesus seem?
Three feet? Ten feet? Twenty feet or more? He was far enough away that Peter became distracted by the waves and wind. Far enough away that Peter became doubtful and called out to be saved. He called to Jesus, the one who had said, “Do not be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” (Don’t miss this: He was close enough to reach out and save, even when the wind and waves seemed closer.)
I have never been on a boat in a storm. I have never stepped foot out onto water and expected to walk on it. And the closest I can get to this example in my life is substituting deep problems for stormy waters, and faith walking for … faith walking. I have done that. (And I have been afraid and doubtful and worried, and wondered if I heard Him right, and realized I couldn’t go back but I could only go forward or risk sinking, and even if Jesus said DON’T BE AFRAID–I was scared. What if this wasn’t what God told me to do? What if I got this wrong? What if I traded one problem for another?) I have been afraid even when I know Jesus is here, but mainly because I felt he wasn’t. Or I felt my problems were bigger than Him. Even though I know they aren’t.
I have been in situations where I just kept on walking in circles, in daily routines, and hoped that my shout to the Lord would bring Jericho results. A wall to crumble down. An enemy to be stopped. Or a victory to be gained. And those times, it didn’t happen when I shouted. In fact, it would be long spans of time before I’d know that anything happened.
I think on times when I don’t see results, or my mind is full of thoughts in all-caps and run-on sentences, the best thing I can do is remember God’s faithfulness. Like the remembering of what he has done in Psalm 136, and the repeating refrain: His faithful love endures forever.
When Jesus seems far, I remind myself that HE IS HERE.
When I don’t feel like I can get close enough to him to be in his undeniable grip, that even just grazing his robe is mustard-seed faith that moves mountains.
He says, I am here. The one who made the sun and moon and placed the stars in the sky.
Thank you, God, for all those faithful who assembled at your feet and you fed them. Thank you for the great faith of those who surged around you to brush the fringe of your robe. Thank you for all the examples and all the reminders–even in my very own life experience–of your faithfulness.