A few weeks ago my family and I were invited to go quail hunting for the very first time. They had hunting dogs that were trained specifically to hunt the birds. I found myself marveling at these dogs. They were so eager to go and hunt. They knew exactly what they were doing, what they were looking for and they never missed. When they would slow their run to a crawl and stick their nose down low into the high grass you knew a bird was close. Then the tail would straighten and the dog would freeze to a point which told you they had found the bird. The rest of the job was left to the hunter which resulted in a lot of quail for our families. We had a great time.
As I continued to observe throughout the day I found myself wondering what our lives would look like if life were as easy as quail hunting with trained hunting dogs. What if our plans for our life were that easy? What if we had a map with directions telling us exactly what to do, when to turn, when to go and when to stop? What if we followed the directions and we never failed, we always succeeded? After all, no one wants to fail at life, but if we’re honest with ourselves it’s in the moments of failures when we live and learn the most. As I look back over my life it was not in my successes where I accomplished the most growth, but it was in the failures. I have failed at many things. I failed papers in school growing up, I failed riding my bike for the first time, I failed to obey my parents, I have failed at being a good sister and friend, I have failed at being a good wife, I have failed at being a good mom, I have failed at being a good follower of Christ. In all of these failures they didn’t define me, they actually helped shape me. So why are we so afraid to fail? I believe that it’s in the fear of failing where we get stuck the most. We want to know that we are going in the right direction. I wonder how much life we miss out on living because we are stuck waiting. Sometimes life requires us to step out to find out!
Let’s take a close look at when Peter and the other disciples had just watched Jesus walk on water. Peter wanted to be able to do it too. Jesus told him to come.
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” Matthew 16:29
We know that’s not the end of the story, but let’s rest on this verse for just a minute. Peter had to step out to find out if he could walk on the water. He had to get out of the boat. He couldn’t stay where it was safe. He had to go out on the water where there was a possibility of failing and look what happened when he did. HE WALKED ON WATER! The impossible became possible. He did something supernatural that only Christ alone could do. WOW! Now let’s finish the story.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?” Matthew 16: 30-31
Did you notice when Peter started to sink? It was when he started to fear. It wasn’t necessarily the wind that caused him to sink. The wind was just a circumstance. He stopped paying attention to Jesus and focused on the circumstance which caused him to fear and then he sank. When we get out of the boat we can expect there to be circumstances. It’s unsafe and uncharted territory, but if our Lord has told us to come we can trust Him! If we keep our eyes on Christ we can do the impossible. We can walk on water!
Next week, I have been invited to come and speak to a group of ladies for the very first time. I have only been writing and sharing through this blog for 2 months and now Jesus is calling me to step out of the boat again and come! I could stay in the boat and keep it safe, but I am going to step out and find out what it’s like to walk on water. I am going to keep my eyes on Christ. I am going to be face down as I seek what He desires to say and trust Him in it. I am eager like the hunting dogs to get out there and do what He has called me to do.
The dogs were designed for a purpose by our Creator and they are doing what He designed them to do. When they were puppies they did not know how to hunt, but they had to learn how. They had to be trained and then practice, practice, practice. We did some practicing before we went hunting. The girls put on ear plugs, safety glasses, snake guards, (because in the Hill Country in high grass there are rattle snakes…SCARY!) and we did some good old fashion skeet shooting.
When we practice we learn and we’re able to do better the next time. We get a little better and wiser. That’s what happens when we spend time with Him, when we read the bible and practice keeping our attention on Him it becomes a little easier and easier to hear His voice and we end up going a little deeper into the water of faith.
Here’s the best news for you today…when you practice TRUSTING Him you don’t have to worry about which direction you are going in because He makes your path straight. It’s one of His many promises.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
So here’s your challenge, stop being afraid at failing at something and step out there and try something new. Stop waiting for a “sign” to show you the way. Go somewhere you have never gone or reach out and meet someone new. If you feel God stretching you into new areas be brave enough to trust Him that He knows what He is doing. Just like Peter, if we start to sink he will grab us with his hand and save us. He is a faithful and loving God! I love His rich promises! Get into His word to discover them and memorize them. He will remind you of them when the winds start to pick up and try to distract you from Him. Keep your attention and focus on Him and He will make your path straight.
Father, thank you for this truth today. Thank you for your promise to make our path straight when we trust you and acknowledge you for who you are. Help us to learn to trust you and acknowledge you. Help us not to waiver in our faith but to stand strong and brave and to go where you call us to go. You are always there to catch us when we fall. We are human with many limitations Lord. Help us to not be afraid of those limitations but to embrace them as opportunities to learn and grow in our failures. We are never a failure in your eye, help us to remember this truth and claim it as we get out of our boats and walk on water. We love you Lord! We thank you for Jesus and the cross. Amen