I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.
The evening sun gradually sank beyond the horizon of the ocean, leaving behind a mesmerizing display of dramatic shades of blue, pink, and purple. I enjoyed the entire performance from my seat at an open-air restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean while awaiting my dinner.
My thoughts drifted from the sunset to the men conversing one table over. I overheard one telling the other how his life was dramatically different since he began “walking with the Lord”. A previous life of drugs and chaos had been transformed into peace and order. Now, he simply asked God for direction each and everyday, and the Lord was guiding each step.
I contemplated the simple yet profound truth of his statement. I imagined he did more than attend church weekly. I got the sense he truly trusted the Lord; that a closeness had developed through time spent with each other.
I watched as the ocean waves methodically crashed on the beach. The story of Peter came to mind. He truly trusted Jesus, believing he could do anything through Him.
After a long day of teaching, Peter and the disciples witnessed the miracle of feeding 5,000 people with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish. They were physically and emotionally spent, so Jesus sent them out in a boat to rest while He went up the mountainside to pray.
Later that night, Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. The disciples were terrified, thinking Jesus was a ghost. Jesus said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”.(Matthew 14:27)
Peter wanted to believe it was Jesus, but needed evidence. He told the Lord to call him out onto the water. “Come,” Jesus said. (v 29)
Have you ever asked the Lord to call you into faith-testing circumstances? I’ll be honest, my prayers do not typically include, “Lord, please give me the opportunity to step out in faith today, no matter how frightening it may be.” The opposite is mostly true – God calls me to leave the comfort of my beach chair and join Him in the ocean waves.
What courage it took Peter to even ask Jesus to call him out of the boat! Peter’s faith was strong, strong enough to begin taking steps towards Jesus. When he realized what was happening, he became distracted by the wind and waves and began to sink. Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand to Peter and caught him.
Peter’s experience illustrates a life of walking with the Lord as evidenced in three ways:
- Spending time with Jesus allowed Peter to understand Jesus’ character – He would not command Peter to do something he wasn’t capable of doing. Isaiah 43:1 says, I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When we hear the Lord calling us to do something, it is specifically for us. We can trust He has our best interests at heart.
- Knowing the heart of Jesus gave Peter the confidence to let go of fear and latch on to faith. He courageously stepped out of the boat and began walking on the water. He did not immediately sink! Can you imagine how Peter must have felt? What a privilege to experience the wonderment of going all in and finding you do have what it takes.
- Peter took his eyes off Jesus as he realized he was walking on water. Doing so caused him to become distracted by the wind and waves and he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus, “Save me!”. Immediately, Jesus reached out to Peter and pulled him from the water. Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. We can be confident that when we choose to follow the Lord’s lead, He will take care of us when we stumble.
Since overhearing that dinner conversation, I have put more thought into what “walking with the Lord” looks like. For me, it means checking in with Him each morning through prayer and scripture, finding time to get quiet, and seeking His guidance throughout the day. Walking with Jesus brings excitement in uncertainty, peace in adversity, and confidence in amenability. What might this look like for you?
Lord, thank you for giving us the opportunity to do life with You. Teach us to quiet our minds enough to hear Your still, small voice calling us by name to walk with You in faith. Amen