Does Jesus let us sink?

Recently my wife and I received a call from God to step out of our boat and meet him on the water. Do you remember the passage from Matthew 14?

Matthew 14:25-29

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.

Right after Jesus told Peter to come, he stepped out of the boat and walked on water. You see, Peter’s problem wasn’t stepping out of the boat. Peter’s issue was keeping his eyes on Jesus. The rest of the account says that Peter began to walk on water and then he started to sink.

 

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!

What happens next? Jesus saves him.

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Jesus tells Peter, “Why did you doubt?” Have you ever felt God asking you that question? I have. To be honest, I’m having this conversation with God right now.

I don’t doubt his Lordship, provision, protection, etc. I don’t doubt Jesus being Jesus. The question I wrestle with is this, “What if Jesus lets you sink a little BEFORE reaching out his hand to pull you up?” Even worse, “What if Jesus lets you sink?” Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not talking about Jesus pushing you over the boat to kill you. What I’m wrestling with is what if Jesus allows something to fail. What if He calls you to something only to teach you how to live with failure?

What if you get up enough courage to step out of the boat, you begin to walk on water, and then you freak out. You’re aware that Jesus is standing there in front of you. You know he’s sovereign, but you begin to sink. You cry out, just like Peter did. But instead of Jesus immediately reaching out his hand, he allows you to experience sinking.

Like I said above, I’m having this conversation with God at the moment. Before I go on, you need to know two things about me:

  1. I am on medication for clinical depression. (FYI-I don’t care what you think about the medicine issue…God uses this medicine to keep me from falling off the edge. Let’s have that debate another time.) Since I’m clinically depressed, situations where I feel like I’m sinking only feel worse.
  2. My wife and I just relocated our family to begin a new church in a VERY Bible-beltish town.
Now that we have that out of the way, I can continue. This conversation I’m having with God goes like this…
Me: God, we left everything. I was happy to do it, but I really need you to provide here.
God: Trust me.
Me: God, do you think you could step up your game and give us good jobs with insurance? I do have a major heart problem you know…I’m pretending not to freak out….
God: Know my promises.
Me: God, the job/insurance situation is not working out like we thought. We don’t know how you’re going to provide. Can you please do something?
God: Trust me.

I don’t pretend to know everything about this topic. Frankly, I could be wrong. But, something tells me, that for some, God does this often. In my life, it seems like Jesus waits until the last possible second to pull me up from sinking.

I don’t have a problem getting out of the boat. I just have a problem with walking on water.

As I type this post up, I think to myself, Nick…read what you’re writing. That’s the key isn’t it?

Even if I can figure out the answer, why does he wait so long to pull me up? I’d prefer the instant treatment Peter got occasionally.

What’s your experience? Are you walking in Faith and sink, waiting for God to pull you up? Or are your still too afraid to get out of the boat? I’d rather get out of the boat.

12 Comments

  1. Great Post, Nick. I love the honesty. I definitely have been there, where it feels like God is just watching me sink. The week before leaving my last ministry pops up in mind, because we had just been going and going and going trying to find another church to serve at, and feeling like I couldn't resign until we had somewhere to go, and every week it seemed like "Can this get any worse?" and then it would the next week. It wasn't until we finally got to where we were like "God we can't take this anymore, were stepping out in complete faith for you to provide" that he did.
  2. Great Post, Nick. I love the honesty. I definitely have been there, where it feels like God is just watching me sink. The week before leaving my last ministry pops up in mind, because we had just been going and going and going trying to find another church to serve at, and feeling like I couldn't resign until we had somewhere to go, and every week it seemed like "Can this get any worse?" and then it would the next week. It wasn't until we finally got to where we were like "God we can't take this anymore, were stepping out in complete faith for you to provide" that he did.
  3. Those moments of sinking, or as I have been calling them, brokenness, are sometimes the most intimate moments I have with Jesus. Sure, they are not fun to go through, self-doubt, discouragement, and fear are present, but the complete reliance on Jesus makes those times of being with Him all the sweeter!
  4. Those moments of sinking, or as I have been calling them, brokenness, are sometimes the most intimate moments I have with Jesus. Sure, they are not fun to go through, self-doubt, discouragement, and fear are present, but the complete reliance on Jesus makes those times of being with Him all the sweeter!

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