Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Out of the Boat

As I sit upon the shoreline, I look out across the beautiful still waters as the suns nestles the light on the waves.  The majestic mountains completely surround the waters to display peace and serenity.  As I gaze at this breathtaking view, I am mesmerized by the wonders of God’s creation.  The whole earth was created for us to enjoy the bountiful blessings of God.  How someone can question God’s bountiful love for us totally puzzles me.  It’s completely displayed for all to see.   Although this isn’t my first time to gaze upon this view; it has captivated me for years.  What’s beyond the view?  This question can only be answered by traveling on a small boat.  Near the shore, my eyes move towards a small boat tied to the pier.  Again it sits, waiting for me to decide what I am going to do.  Many questions of fear plague my mind to hinder my life’s quest, who will win today?  The little boat by the pier has patiently waited for my decision but I am still hesitant to enter.  For ten years, I have visited the same location with deep desires, dreams, and visions.  This precious small boat is the only way I can travel to the other side but I am terrified.  It’s a big world; I am only a visitor passing by.  But I still hear the sweet, gentle, loving voice of my Savior saying, “It’s time to come to the water.”  Oh, the way His voice pulls at my heart strings, it so hard to turn away.  For ten years, I have been fearful to trust the One who created this breathtaking view for me.
     Let me explain, this little story to you.  Since I was fourteen years old, I have been called into the ministry to be a pastor.  I have obeyed the Lord faithfully throughout my life to get my education to obtain this.  While in college, I married my husband and gave birth to our two oldest children and working full-time.  I still can’t believe I was able to get a degree with all of the personal changes taking place in my life.  One year after graduation, I received my first position to be a youth/associate pastor, so I was overjoyed to be following God’s call on my life.  I accepted it with great expectations, excitement, and self-doubt, could I really do this?  What was I stepping into?  But I knew if God called me, He would be with me. 
     Yet, what happened in ministry totally destroyed my faith in me, the church, and God.  As the senior pastor resigned, I felt totally abandoned, hopeless, and alone.  According to the bylaws, I was hired by the pastor and not the church, so I was soon unemployed.  Since the pastor and I worked so well together and he was willing to teach me, I considered his offer to plant a church in Florida.  My husband and I didn’t take this offer lightly, we prayed together for days before making a decision.  Before taking the pastorate, we left behind great jobs and our first house.  Were we really moving back?  No, God advised us to go to Florida.  Although I obeyed the Lord, my heart wasn’t in this new position at the church.  So, after a year I re-signed to try to gain focus of my life and allow my family to heal.   Also, my husband wasn’t serving the Lord at the time, so I felt torn in what to do.  One thing I have learned, there is no place to hide from God.  He has your number down.  Nevertheless, the Spirit kept urging me to get back into ministry but I felt like a complete failure.  But the Word of God keeps burning deep within my heart.  I would write sermons, poetry, and some writing to give myself an outlet but a fire has been deeply burning within.  Call me a nerd but I love to study the Word of God for hours.  I don’t ever get tired of it.  But what I enjoy the most is preaching a solid message of God’s Word and watching it come alive in someone’s life.  As the Word takes root, we pray for whatever their need is, it’s awesome to watch God’s Word bring life.
       As the years have turned, the greater my regret has grown.  But God remains faithful.  A few years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of what He wanted for me to do in ministry.  Just recently, I have decided to put my faith in action with God’s call on my life.  I am right now in the process of trying to get my license to be a minister with the help of my pastor. 
     What am I getting at?  Many people reading this have received a marvelous vision from the Lord and wondering if it will come to pass.  The dream is breathtaking, completely enormous, and fearful at the same time, I completely understand.  Sometimes, the first step is the hardest to take.  The boat has the ability to guide you to the unexpected, dangerous, and most beautiful places.  You have to place your trust in the boat to safely get to your destination.  My friend, the boat is Jesus Christ who has the complete ability to hold you through the journey, all He wants for you to enter and trust Him.  Faith requires us to step into the boat and see what lies ahead.  We can sit at the shore and wonder about it, regret it, or dread the thought of failing.  Whether I fail or succeed, all I know is I have to try for the sake of my Savior.  Faith is taking a risk of resting in the truth to watch the impossible become possible through Christ. 
     Just a nugget, Peter was the only disciple who experienced walking on the water.  The others stayed in the boat, watching him, and being fearful of the storm.  Jesus allowed Peter to come to Him; He didn’t hesitate or rebuke him.  Sadly, Peter has been ridiculed for being fearful of drowning while walking on the water.  His heart became fearful of the dangerous surrounds but Jesus lifted him up.  (Matthew 14:25-32)  If God has called your life, He is all you need to fulfill it.  Fear focuses on our abilities, faith focuses on God’s abilities.  It will be done as God promised but will you enter the boat?  He is waiting for your answer by the shore.