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 the kind of bravery that prays for people who have hurt me, the kind that always chooses to respond in kindness, no matter what was said or done, and no matter how I feel. And I want the kind of bravery that apologizes in humility when I know I’m in the wrong.
I want to be the kind of brave that surrenders to God’s will even when it feels like my own fleshly desires are screaming at me. I want to continue to read Scripture and lean into Jesus, day after day, even when He feels distant and even if I don’t feel the desire to. I want to do what He asks of me, no matter how scary or intimidating the task may seem. I want to obey, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it hurts and even if it doesn’t make sense. 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 my own fear, cynicism, bitterness, envy, hurts and desires getting in the way of me choosing Jesus. Satan knows my weak spots and he knows just the thing to tempt me with.
But even when I mess up, even when I give into temptation or I don’t choose the way of Love, God doesn’t turn His back on me. He has not and He will not give up on me. 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.
Just like Peter, I want to step out of the boat and follow Jesus when He calls me, but too often, I get distracted by the wind and the waves. I’m too focused on how I feel, on what I want 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.
“Lauren, keep your eyes on Me. I’m right here and I’ve got you.”
“Have I ever failed you? Have I ever proved unfaithful?”
“You are my beloved daughter. I created you, I died for you, and My love for you is greater than you can even fathom. Of course, I will never let you down. Of course, I will never let you sink.”
When the most powerful Being in the universe and the One who knitted together my very soul, tells me that He’s got 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 like 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 Father, I pray that You would make me brave. Make me steadfast and make me brave, because I know that Your way is better. I know that choosing to obey and to step out of the boat to follow You will prove worth it; that it’ll produce strength, joy, faith, wisdom and fruit. I know that it will result in abundant life and in intimacy with You, which is ultimately the very thing that my heart and soul is longing for. I don’t want to be stuck inside the boat, I want to be close to You. I want to walk on the water with You. I know that this is what I want, even when the world tries to tell me that I’ll be satisfied in a thousand other places. Jesus, YOU are the only thing that satisfies. Come and fill every space in my heart and help me to choose You everyday of my life.
And one day, I will no longer need to be brave and I will no longer need these eyes of faith. One day I’ll be standing beside You, with every tear wiped away, with every hurt undone, with every longing fulfilled and with a completely restored heart. But for now, make me steadfast and make me 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