Walking on Water
Matthew 14:25-33 (NKJV)
Acts 2 (NKJV)
Psalm 23:1 (NCV)
Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
The first time I watched the movie, The Shack, I actually felt what it was like when Jesus walked on water and encouraged another person to walk with Him. That seemed a little strange to me since I’ve seen other movies where Jesus walked on water. It seemed like something about how the Shack movie was made and the visual affect made it more real. I read the book, but the visual aide made a resounding difference to me.
For days after I watched The Shack that scene stayed with me. I wondered what I would have felt when I saw Jesus walking on the water and coming toward me. I wondered if I would have been as brave and trusting as Peter was when he asked Jesus to tell him to step out of the boat. Peter was known for being a man of action. He certainly was brave that day!
In Matthew 14:25-28 we read, “Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.”
I have to admit, especially based on my reaction to the movie The Shack, if I would have had the same reaction as the disciples had I been there. After all, humans think in human ways. In order for humans to think the same way God thinks, we need to surrender to God. I don’t see any way around that. I cannot conjure up enough strength and courage to do God-like things unless I surrender my thoughts to God. In other words, had I been there that day watching Jesus walk toward me, my first reaction might have been to convince myself I was seeing things...like day-dreaming.
Another thing I need to remember is that while the disciples had the advantage of spending time with Jesus in the flesh, they did not have the promise of one advantage we DO have.
We have the Spirit of God living IN us.
I recently had a lengthy discussion with two different people about what it’s like to hear God, see visions, and rely on the movement of the Holy Spirit. Because I have not really experienced life without the help of the Holy Spirit, I cannot imagine what life would be like without the Spirit’s daily help. Before I was twelve years old, I know my dad prayed for me and the Spirit protected me. When I turned twelve my relationship with God changed drastically. The movement of God was so strong that first time that it placed an indelible ‘mark’ on me forever. I still remember what it felt like that first time.
The disciples didn’t have that until the Spirit came into the world at Pentecost. In Acts 2:1-4 we learn, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The day I went to see Billy Graham at Arrowhead Stadium, I experienced that kind of movement of the Spirit. I did not speak in tongues. I know some believe everyone who receives the Spirit will speak in tongues, but that has not been my experience. As I read scripture we are given gifts from the Spirit and tongues is one of the gifts. I do not have that gift. Feel free to disagree with me. It won’t change what I think but I give everyone the right to their own theology.
After that day I did hear God. I did have dreams and visions. I did know what it felt like to have the Spirit ‘move’ in me. Once again, that was only my experience. Your experience will be different. It will be yours.
Even knowing that, I can only imagine what it would have been like to sit in the boat and see Jesus walk toward me on water. I would like to think I would get up out of the boat and walk on water with Jesus. In Acts 2:29-33, we read, “So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
I have no doubt that Jesus is the Son of God. While I have not spoken in tongues or walked on water, I know God has given me other gifts. Psalm 23:1 (NCV) says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.” I hear God. I have dreams and visions. I’ve been a writer all my life. I love teaching about scripture, and while my style is ‘my own’, I do preach and have done that for many years. Later in life, I became a theologian and a Spiritual Director. God gave me the gifts I have so I can accomplish what God wants me to accomplish.
God gave me, and gives you exactly what you and I need to accomplish His plan for us.
It’s just that simple.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Your Gifts
If you are not sure what gifts God has given you, ask God to show you. If you know what your gifts are, ask God to show you something new about your gifts today. That second item may seem like an impossible request, but after all, God is God and God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
In Him who is Able, Deborah