Every follower of Jesus has the authority and the power within them to walk on water. Most of us don’t experience physically walking on water, but when it comes through the storms and trials we face in life the feeling of sinking and drowning can become all too real.
Storms rage, the trials of life burn us, and it is so easy to get caught up in the fear of each situation. These storms produce emotions in us that are often impossible to see past. We want to believe that there is something greater and more powerful than our difficult situation, but in the middle of the battle our minds burn with questions… Why do we have to have storms at all? Why must we struggle so often through life? What is the point of suffering?
Where are you God?
I was recently in the hospital for a period of 10 days because my son, James Michael, was having trouble breathing when he was born. Going through an unexpected stay in the hospital is always difficult, but when it isn’t you, but your new baby who must be hospitalized it takes the pain and hardship in the trial and magnifies it to a level that you cannot put to words. My son had a condition where his hematocrit was too high (75% when we were checked in – way too high). The doctors described his blood as “sludge blood” because it was too full of blood cells and couldn’t flow through his veins very easily. This required them to take blood samples and check his blood sugar levels every couple of hours. What this looked like was was our new baby being pricked and poked to regularly draw blood almost every 2 hours for the first 10 days of his young life. To make this awful situation worse his blood was so thick that half the time it clotted all of the tests, so the pokes were never one and done events. They had to repeated, sometimes 3-4 times for a single successful sample! We never left his side during the entire ordeal, and so we had to witness his very first experience in life being regular, painful stabs that James didn’t expect and didn’t understand.
As young parents this is the most difficult experience my wife and I have ever had. To see our new baby suffering and being helpless to deliver him from the pain was terrible. Test after test and scary news following more scary news seemed to plague us for what felt like an eternity. But as we traveled through the darkest storm that we have faced to this day we had something that so many people who enter trials like these do not have – our faith. In the midst of the struggle Jessi and I deliberately and resolutely determined to only focus on one thing through the storm – the faithfulness of God who loves us and is our Deliverer. The scripture that resounded within us over and over again the entire time happened to be from the beginning of the book of James (also the name of our son):
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” –James 1:2-4
We know that God does not always stop the storm. Sometimes He does miraculously stop storms for us but sometimes He does not. Remember that instead of telling the storm to cease Jesus told Peter to come onto the water and walk to Him through the storm. Remember that God did not quench the fire for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, but instead He was with them in the fire.
Why didn’t Jesus calm the seas for Peter to help him walk on the water and make faith easier? Why didn’t He quench the fire right before the three young men fell into it? Because God is declaring a very clear message that He wants us to see:
THE STORM IS NOT YOUR ISSUE!! AND THE FIRES OF LIFE ARE NOT YOUR PROBLEM!!
Could it be – that we have a God so GREAT, so HUGE, so MAGNIFICENT, and so ALL-POWERFUL that He wants us to learn to see HIM even when we are going through the hardest thing we’ve ever faced?! Could it be – that God knows that how we see HIM is more critical, more important, and more urgent than anything else that we see or experience in this world?! Could it be – that we really are meant to walk by faith, and not by sight?!
In Psalm 23, a psalm so memorable and so beautiful, it says, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” Does the path ever lead us through storms? Will we experience the fire and have to walk through valleys? Yes! It is promised by God we will experience trials and tribulations!
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” –John 16:33
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. –Psalms 91:1-7
With a completely clear conscience I can say to you that my wife and I faithfully kept our eyes on God through the midst of the entire storm. We did not sink, as so many do, but we truly walked on the water. Firsthand, we witnessed God perform miracles for us and our baby while we were in the hospital, and we knew that we were experiencing victory. This Day of Victory was an incredible and unforgettable day. The turning point of the war was won and very soon we were out of the hospital and back home where we belonged. Do I believe that we obtained victory because of our faith? Absolutely I do. If you don’t think faith has the power to change your situations then go read 1 John 5:4.
While Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus, he was doing great until he did one thing: he took his eyes off the Lord. He started looking around at the storm (at his problems), and then what happened? He started sinking. When Peter cried out for His rescuer Jesus immediately reached out and saved him, but then He said something unforgettable to Peter: “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
One of the most interesting lessons God taught me about faith and doubt comes from the story of Thomas after Jesus rose again. Do you remember the story? Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25). If you read the next verse you can see what Thomas had to go through because of his doubt: he had to wait. Thomas had to wait eight days longer than all the other disciples to see Jesus! Why did Jesus follow up with Thomas later and say that, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”? He said this because faith has the power to change your circumstances and alter reality. Those who had faith were blessed because they physically saw the manifestation of Jesus risen in the flesh eight times faster than Thomas did! That is absolutely a blessing! The other disciples had faith that Jesus had indeed risen and they sought Him out. They had hope, and hope does not disappoint. Thomas, however, had no faith, and must have felt hopeless for awhile. Thomas was cursed with having to remain in hopelessness for quite a few days (11 total – when you count the three days Jesus was in the grave) until Jesus had mercy on Him and revealed Himself to Thomas. The other men were simply blessed because the fulfillment of their hope (Jesus revealing Himself to them sooner) caused them to be filled with joy and gladness. Faith absolutely has a MAJOR effect on your circumstances.
My encouragement to you is this: if you find yourself sinking and you can’t seem to get your head above water, then cry out to God! He is your Rescuer and will deliver you! But something even more important that Christ wants us to learn is this: have faith and do not doubt. In the most intense, difficult, and stressful moments of your life faith is a decision. Faith is resolve. And you must fight the good fight of faith and keep your focus on God no matter how scary, how challenging, and how terrible the darkness seems to be! Believer in Christ, my reminder to you is to believe in Him. For all things are possible to him who believes!
“All things are possible to him who believes.” –Mark 9:23
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