I talk a lot about courage. Courage is largely a matter of pressing on when then the circumstances around you and the feelings inside you are telling you to stay put. It takes courage to follow Christ because He’s constantly desiring us to leave our comfort zones.
Think of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, in a storm in the middle of the night. As they struggle with their boat, Jesus comes walking to them on the water. Imagining Him to be a ghost, they begin crying out in terror. But what does Jesus say to them? “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid (Matthew 14:27, emphasis added).” How often we need to hear the Lord’s voice above all the shrieking winds of our own storms and struggles. He might communicate, “It is I, the One who loves you! Take courage! Trust Me! Quit living in fear!”
Peter does trust Jesus. And to prove Peter’s trust, Jesus invites him to get out of the boat and walk on the water toward Him. Can you imagine how the Lord must have felt to see Peter straddle the side of the boat, put his feet down on the water, and then begin to walk? Using sanctified imagination, we can almost hear Him exclaiming, “That’s it! You’ve got it, Peter! Way to go, buddy! You’re trusting Me! Fantastic! Thank you, Peter! See that, guys? That’s faith! That’s what I’ve been waiting for!”
As with most of us today, Peter’s trust was short-lived. But the point is, God’s best for us always involves getting out of the boat. There are countless boats in which people flounder about. It may be the boat of comfort and convenience. Or the boat of financial security. Or the boat of position and prestige. Or the boat of our own narrow-minded prejudices and presuppositions. Jesus challenges us to take courage and get out of our boat and walk toward Him, by His grace and in His strength. In doing so, we always experience God’s best for our lives—with Jesus, out of the boat.
Jesus invites us to take risks. He challenges us to courageously trust Him and go against the circumstances of our own fears with the simple attitude, “Lord, I don’t care what Your will is. I just know I want to be in Your will, no matter what!”
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.