Stepping out of the boat

Years ago, a 16-year-old Filipina ventured into the unknown, leaving home to be a nanny in Singapore so her wages would help support her family back in the Philippines.

She found herself in a very different culture – she was virtually alone.  A lukewarm Christian when she left home, she found herself turning to God and the tattered Bible her father had given her.

Today she is in Canada – another very different world – heading up family ministries in our church.

She shared her story during a recent prayer service in our church, calling on us to “step out of the boat” and our comfort zone – trusting God.

Her reference, of course, was to the wonderful story in Matthew 14:22-33 where Jesus walks on water toward the terrified disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

“Lord, if it’s you,” says Peter in the boat, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” Jesus says.

So, Peter gets out of the boat and walks on water until he sees the waves.  Then, he starts sinking, calls out to Jesus to save him, and is rescued by the Lord.

It’s much easier and less stressful to stay in the boat.  But Jesus used this incident to teach the disciples of the necessity of faith in our Christian lives.

I am reminded that I am not in this world to live comfortably and to avoid stress.  I am here to grow more like Jesus – and that involves risking myself to love and care for God and others.

Jesus was constantly stepping out of the boat during his sojourn on earth.  He risked the ire of Jewish leaders and King Herod to reach out to the poor and needy around him.

Looking at the great Bible characters, they stepped out of the boat, too.  In some cases, they almost had to be pushed out of the boat.

One of my favourite characters – Gideon – had to be constantly nudged by God to stand up to worshipers of Baal and invading armies.  But, gradually, he learned to trust God and his power until he and his people were able to drive the enemy out of Israel.

I find comfort in the story of Gideon.  God has an assignment for me, and he will not be surprised if I have to be pushed out of the boat to carry it out.

The key for me is to listen to his voice and take the plunge.


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