Getting out of the boat
Every Thursday morning, the wives get together in the
director's wife's cabin (it's the biggest and still can only hold 20
people at a squeeze) and have some time together over the Bible and coffee.
Never having been one for women's ministry, I am still pleasantly surprised at
how much I've been enjoying it and how much I have learned.
A friend of mine, Alice, spoke about reading a book called
"If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat!" (I'm
sorry I've forgotten the author's name but it's available at most
Christian bookshops.) This title may not capture your attention initially but
when you live on a boat, it grabs you straightaway!
Alice took us to Matthew 14 and Mark 6, to the story of Jesus
walking on the water. Everyone knew that the two main characters here were Jesus
and Peter. (I don't know how anyone else felt but I've always considered
Peter to be an over-enthusiastic, and not always wise, supporter of Jesus and
after much consideration felt that I could have taught him a lot about
steadiness of character.) While sitting there, pleasantly daydreaming about our
conversations together where he would eagerly sit at my feet and learn how to be
a better disciple of the Lord Jesus, Alice's comments penetrated my thoughts.
"When we consider this story, we so often think, poor Peter -– he didn't
keep his eyes on the Lord and so he sank. We seldom think about the other 11
disciples still in the boat. What happened to them? Not one of them called out
to the Lord to bid them come. Instead, they stayed safely in the boat and
totally missed the opportunity to walk on water!"
I had never thought about the 11 disciples, except maybe to
fleetingly congratulate them for the sense that Peter seldom seemed to show, but
now I saw this whole event in a totally different light. It had never occurred
to me that the Lord might have been pleased with the one who got out and failed
momentarily than the 11 that stayed inside and changed not a whit.
The next interesting point that Alice brought out was that
Jesus had initially intended to 'pass by' the boat (Mark 6:48). She then
linked this action with the other times in Scripture that God 'passed by'.
Each time He did it, it was with the sole intention of showing His glory! In
other words, even though Peter was frightened, (along with the others who
thought the Lord was a ghost), Peter called out to Him because he wanted to see
His glory, then he climbed over the side and went after it!
As I pondered these thoughts, I realised that this story now
held new significance for me. Peter had turned into the hero who, despite his
character deficiencies, went after the Lord in a dangerous situation, and the 11
'safe' disciples now wore the scorn I used to reserve for Peter. (It takes a
lot for some of us to learn but I was about to....)
Shortly after, when Alice challenged us as to ask the Lord
which character we most closely resembled, I sadly had to admit that it wasn't
my new hero - it was my old ones. If I really thought about it, (and knowing how
I am in this ship when we are in a storm), I wouldn't have wanted to see the
Lord's glory, let alone actively pursue it -– all I would have wanted to do
was to stay in the boat.
Something that struck me shortly afterwards was that out of
all the disciples who knew Jesus well, it wasn't the one who was closest to
Him that chased after Him. This shows me that it doesn't matter how well we do
or do not know Him, if we want to 'see His glory', He's just waiting for a
word from us so that He can ask us to get out of the boat and come to Him as He
What a privilege!
I know that it's scary to step out in faith sometimes but
when I look at those who have, I want what they've got. When I look at people
who have never asked God for the courage to step out of their comfort zone, I
see people who have never seen the glory of God and subsequently wonder what all
the fuss is about.
God is worth making a fuss about. If you want to experience a
fullness of life like never before, ask Him to call you out of your comfort zone
and see the amazing things He does through you. It's incredible!