I want to be the kind of brave that always chooses compassion. The kind that leans into hard and uncomfortable spaces and doesn’t run away from them. I want to be the kind of brave that’s obedient in whatever the Lord asks of me, no matter how scary or intimidating or uncomfortable the task may seem. I want to listen and I want to walk in the freedom that He offers, even when it doesn’t feel like freedom in the moment.
But this bravery thing, it’s tough sometimes. And if I’m honest, right now I feel tired. I feel tired of struggling with the same things and fighting the same sin. And I’m tired of all of the ugly stuff in my heart- all of my fear, cynicism, apathy, bitterness, envy (the list could go on)- getting in the way of me choosing Jesus. It’s easy to get discouraged sometimes, but of this I am sure: God doesn’t turn His back on me. He has not and He will not give up on me. And what is His response when I mess up? When I go back to the very thing I swore I was freed from? When I don’t walk in the way of Love? He kneels down, grabs my hand, brushes off my shoulders, and He helps me stand back up. And even when I don’t reach for Him, He continues to reach for me. He waits patiently for me, longing to lavish me in His love, and to exchange my shame for His mercy.
I think about the story of Peter walking on the water, and how he was doing just fine until he saw the wind and the waves. Matthew writes, “So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him…” (Matthew 14:29-31).
As soon as Peter takes His eyes off of Jesus and focuses on the wind and the waves, he begins to fall. But even when Peter falls, Jesus immediately reaches out his hand to take hold of him so that he doesn’t sink.
Immediately Jesus reaches for Peter. Notice how it doesn’t say that Jesus was disappointed in Peter, or that first He scolded him, or that He let him fall into the water so he would learn a lesson…immediately without even a hesitation Jesus reaches for Peter so that he wouldn’t fall. Our God is first and foremost gentle and gracious and patient with us as we learn how to follow Him.
And just like Peter, I want to step out of the boat and follow Jesus when He calls me, but just like Peter, I too get distracted by the wind and the waves. I’m carried away by fear, on what I want or feel in the moment, or on what could go wrong. I lose sight of Jesus’ face and I forget His promises. But the more time I spend growing and learning from Him, the more I’m able to trust Him, and the more I’m able to fix my eyes on His face and recognize His voice.
“Where is your faith?”
When the most powerful Being in the universe and the One who knitted together my very soul, tells me that He’s with me and that He will not let me down…how else can I respond? When this God is the One who CONTROLS the wind and the waves…how could I ever fear? When He tells me to believe in Him and to obey Him because He wants to make me more beautiful and glorious to reflect His Son, and He wants to bring restoration to this earth using me as His hands and feet…how could I say no? How can anything else be more important? How can I question anything that He says or asks of me? How can I ever think that I know what’s best when I can only see what’s directly in front of me, while HE was there at the beginning of time and is already there at the end of time? He sees the wind and the waves. He sees my fears, my worries, my desires, my doubts, my hurts and my frustrations. He’s not ignoring them, invalidating them or brushing them off. He knows very well that it’s hard to be human. But He says, “If you would just keep your eyes on Me, if you would just trust Me…all I need is your faith, and You’ll be blown away by what I can do in, through, and for you.”
So my prayer is that He would make us brave. That He would make us steadfast and brave, because stepping out of the boat to follow Him will prove worth it; it’ll produce strength, joy, faith, wisdom and fruit. I believe that it will result in abundant life and in intimacy with Him, which is ultimately the very thing that our hearts and souls are longing for. I don’t want to be stuck inside the boat, I want to be close to Jesus. I want to walk on the water with Jesus, even when the world tries to tell me that I’ll be satisfied in a thousand other places.
And one day, we’ll no longer need to be brave and we’ll no longer need these eyes of faith. One day we’ll be standing beside Him, with every tear wiped away, with every hurt undone, with every longing fulfilled and with a completely restored heart. But for now, Jesus, make us steadfast and make us brave.
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” -C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe