The Unsafe Path of Obedience

..."Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  Matthew 14:28

I love a great story. A great story is one in which I find a character that I can relate to and study throughout the pages of the book in front of me. When I was growing up in the DRCongo, we had a very limited supply of books for me to read. Without the distraction of television or an iPod, I would spend hours and hours reading in my lavendar-colored room on my double bed in front of my open-shuttered window in hopes of catching part of a delicious breeze to cool me off. I read the same books up to fifty times. Some characters in the story would feel like real-life friends. I would laugh and cry with them, secretly wishing that they were part of my world.

I didn't used to think so, but the Bible is truly a masterpiece of literary works. Drama, adventure, betrayal, redemption, hatred, and love are all lived out in the lives of ordinary human beings directed by an extraordinary God.

Of the twelve men of Jesus' inner circle, one continues to captivate me with his life. I know that this is, in part, because I so closely relate to his flaws. But I dare to hope that I could also have the courage of this man.

He was not well-educated. He made his living before he met Christ doing something I never would want to do - catch fish on rough waters. He was not refined in social graces. He did not have much money. But he dared to demonstate his love for Jesus passionately, even though he sometimes missed the mark.

His name was Simon Peter.

Rob and I have gone from safe to faith in this ministry that we believe God has given us. That has presented us with some moments in which fear has threatened to swallow me up. Like Peter, I long to love Jesus and obey Him with every fiber of my being. But my own fear that I will do it wrong, that it isn't really Him telling me to come to Him on the waves, my own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity can make me lose perspective as I look at the stormy waves that are the pathway to obedience. Like Peter, I can sink quickly, even after I have heard Christ's voice clearly. The storm takes precedence in my mind rather than trusting in the One whom even the winds and the waves obey.

I often think of what the alternative is. I can stay in the boat and be "safe." I will never have to wonder if I taught Scripture out of context (my worst nightmare). I wouldn't have to agonize over what others might say about me as I dare to offer God's Word to counter political correctness. I wouldn't have to fight against the voice of the enemy as he tempts me to nitpick at how I am coming across to others as I realize again how much I want others' approval.

But there is something wild and irresistible about daring to "do it scared" - the best definition of courage I have ever heard. There is something soul-satisfying about throwing caution to the wind and trusting my God to cover the gaps and to hide me in the shadow of His wings. There is something exhilerating about stepping out in faith when fear is nipping at my heels and realizing the ability to laugh like a child being chased by something she knows cannot harm her.

Lord Jesus, give me the strength to continue to choose the pathway of obedience that so often finds its way through the storm.

Remind my fickle heart today that, truly, there is no better way to live.