Almost any ol’ Sunday school kid worth their salt will remember the story of Peter walking on the water! It’s really an amazing narrative. I recently looked up some artists portrayals of this event and noticed something a bit “off” with many of the pictures. Peter was there all right, walking from the boat to Jesus in the middle of a storm, but the water was only slightly choppy – almost calm.
The Bible actually tells us a storm had come up and there were “high winds and heavy seas.” Who gets out of a boat in “high winds and heavy seas?” Apparently Peter does, but lately I feel like that’s been us – we seem to be in “high winds and heavy seas” and honestly, I’m not liking it much!
It’s said that Mark Twain once asked a baggage handler on a passenger train if he thought his briefcase was sturdy enough to be loaded onto the baggage compartment for shipping. The handler picked up Twain’s case and promptly hurled it to the ground. “That sir, is what it’ll get in Philly.” Then he picked it up again and struck it four or five times against the side of the train. “And that’s what will happen to it in Chicago.”
Finally he threw the case to the ground and stomped on it until the author’s papers and books fell out. “And that’s what will happen when it’s reaches Sioux City.” As Twain watched aghast, the baggage handler gestured to his now mangled case and advised, “If you’re going farther than Sioux City, sir, I’d suggest you carry it on with you.”
Twain was fortunate enough to know beforehand what the journey ahead would entail – “high winds and heavy seas” – so plan accordingly. We used to have a T-shirt at our church that read: “Be concerned about the future. You’ll spend the rest of your life there.” And as Herbert Spencer has wisely observed, “The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.”
But our future ahead looks troubled – we truly are experiencing “high winds and heavy seas.” There is now a continual, ongoing assault against all those who long to serve God with a whole heart. Satan prefers Christ-followers to stay right where they are – half-hearted, happy to do little, not radical – content to remain at ease. Please believe me when I tell you that Satan is actively at work to shut you down! It troubles me that if we don’t overcome evil with good this time around, Albert Einstein’s prediction may just come to pass: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Things are not well in our world.
But for God – He reveals to us possibilities at impossible odds! We are never to give up even in the face of overwhelming forces. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture has been given to empower us …giving us the strength to take the right direction.” We don’t have to follow crazy people into darkness and beyond. We can believe God like Daniel did in the lions den, like David did when facing Goliath, and like Elisha did on Mt. Camel: all of these men encountered “high winds and heavy seas” but they engaged with God and overcame in a colossal, God-encountering way!!
The easiest thing to do during “high winds and heavy seas” is to hunker down, overdose on TV or stay in bed and sleep, all the while praying for the storm to pass. But those are probably the most destructive things a person can do. Somewhere here our future has moved from being a promise to being a threat, but as Christ-followers we need to invoke Proverbs 28:1: “The wicked run away when no one is chasing them; but the righteous stand their ground as boldly as lions.”
We can do this! Let’s adopt the Star Trek motto and boldly go where no man has gone before, as our times cry out for a bold involvement. As Jim Rohn admonishes us: “Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information you can visit them at DPCityChurch.org.
Susan Beckett • Dwelling Place City Church
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