When I was in high school, I went canoeing with a youth group I used to attend. (If you have not figured out by now I really like to canoe and kayak and if I did not have to deal with the pesky wildlife of FL, I would go more often) We were canoeing along in the water. The person that was with me and I got in a bit more speed than the rest of the bunch and we had pulled away from the group. Somehow, we got caught on a log, and the boat flipped and followed the current and left us there. I immediately went down under the water. The boat was gone, and fear struck deep inside of me. I have always been a very strong swimmer but in that moment, I was scared. I looked at myself struggling under the water and thought of a million movie scenes I had seen of people drowning. I finally got myself wedged between the current and a nearby log. I did not know what to do other than to wait until someone came boating down the river. Fear held me to that log. I was not about to let go of it. It seemed like hours I waited for help to come, but really, it was only a few minutes. When someone did finally come by and assess the scene their response was a quick, “Why don’t you try to let go of the log and swim. It can’t be too deep.” If I could have smacked the person, I would. Didn’t they realize I was scared here? Finally, I mustered all the courage I had. I was going to try to swim. Once my friend and I released our grip to the log we found out the water was only as deep as our chest. As anticlimactic as it was, it was kind of comical at the time. We struggled and fought in the current to find out the water wasn’t that deep. Once we made our way down the river and found our boat I realized I’d been taught a valuable lesson. People we freak out too quick over things and jump to worse case scenario’s.
Most people have heard the story of Peter stepping out of the boat to meet Jesus. If you haven’t read it then here it is. Matthew 14:22-33 reads, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 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?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
Notice that Peter is only one of 12 disciples. So out of 12 of them only Peter is gutsy enough to get out of the boat and walk on the water. I’m sure all of them could have walked on that water that day. But fear kept them all bound fast to that boat. Fear will stop you from going forward to your destiny in God. Fear will keep you bound to the place where you’re at. Fear will paralyze you in the kingdom. The “what if’s” can dance in your head like a marching band to their own cadence. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
So often times I’ve heard this story preached about how Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to sink. That is a very valid point. But Peter got out of the boat!! That’s faith! Now when he saw the storm and circumstance he began to question that faith and that’s where he lost it, but he got out of the boat!!
I want to encourage you today. Get out of the boat of fear in your life, and step into firm faith. Step into the things God has for you! Step into your destiny! Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” You want to know what makes God excited? It’s when you trust Him. It’s when you believe Him above you think. It’s when you trust Him above what you think you know. Yes, even Peter began to fail, but God was right there to catch Him. He didn’t let him sink. Once you know that you know something is God’s will, and you’ve talked to your pastor and everyone knows its God then step out. Walk boldly out in faith. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
I have always said that I want to do what ever I can to live my life in such a way that I have no regrets. I want to be able to look at God one day, and be able to say that I did what you called me to do. I may not always be perfect but I stepped out and trusted you. Live your life in that same way. You have a destiny and a purpose on this earth and God yearns that you step out and fulfill it. To quote Kim Clement a mighty prophet of God, “You’re never going to know unless you step out of the boat.”