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the reality of his presence

February 1, 2011

“Then Peter called to Him, ‘Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” Matthew 14: 28 & 29

Over 2,000 years ago, an ordinary man named Peter stepped out of a boat and walked on the water. His life was never the same. Just like Peter, we as Believers have the opportunity to do just that every day of our lives – step out of the “boat” of life into the adventure of the unknown.

Stepping out of the boat can be a scary thing. It cannot be undertaken lightly. We must make our focus the reality of Jesus’ presence and not the immediacy of our circumstances. The only way to walk on top of the waves is to keep our eyes fixed on the Master of the waves.

Sometimes the easiest way to do this – to grasp a deep truth – is to make it personal. Sometimes it takes closing your eyes, putting yourself into the scene and using your imagination to really make the scene come alive. Why don’t you give it a try? Close your eyes and imagine you are standing at the railing of a boat, looking out at a rolling sea. In the distance you see Jesus and…

You grasp the railing of the boat with your hands. The wood feels rough and strong. The salt spray from the waves hits your face, misting your hair and clothing. The wind is blowing, not strong but steady. You pull yourself up on the railing. Your heart is beating fast.

You swing your legs around, put one foot down. Where your foot touches, the water becomes smooth and firm just as though you had stepped onto dry land. You put your other foot down and step away from the railing, letting go. You hear the waves hitting the side of the boat, the salt spray is still falling on you, but where you stand, the water is smooth and firm without a ripple.

In the summer of 2008, I quit a well-paying job because of a call from the Lord. I had to take the first step and then He gave me the courage to keep walking into the unknown. Three months later He provided another wonderful job that has enabled me to meet many of my goals. I stepped out of the boat with faith in my Master.

Once we step out of the boat, Jesus will cheer us on as we take each step. The storms often get worse the closer we get to Him. During those three months I was waiting for another job, I wasn’t sure what would happen next or when. It took all my faith and courage to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

We will be tempted to doubt that He called us to come to Him in the first place. But we can’t. We can’t believe based on emotion. We have to believe based on what we know. This is what I had to do during those three months, up to the very day when I was offered my job. I had to keep walking forward in faith. Close your eyes again. Imagine you are still standing on the water, looking at Jesus…

All of this time, your eyes have never left His face. You are captivated. His gaze is full of peace, pouring strength into your heart. He is cheering you on. You take another step and another, never taking your eyes off His. The wind becomes fierce. It is whipping your hair and your clothes, trying to push you off course. The salt spray is more than a mist; you are drenched.

Then it happens. Lightening tears through the sky. Your eyes leave His face and you cover your head in terror, crying out. Your voice is lost in the crashing of the waves. You are sinking. The waves are closing over you and you feel their crushing weight.

At the last second, a hand reaches down and pulls you up above the waves. You are looking into His face. The water is firm beneath your feet. His grip on your hand is firm and you are with Him.

The immediacy of our circumstances can cause us to take our focus off the reality of His presence. When we do, we begin to sink. We have to remember that our circumstances are not our reality, He is. I had to remember this during those three months of waiting for a new job. I had to constantly take my eyes off my circumstances and look to Jesus.

We must resolve afresh to focus on the reality of His presence as we take the first step out of the boat; as we walk forward to Him on the water and even as the waves of life threaten to crush us. We must determine that we need to be in His presence more than we need safety, comfort, calm or life itself.

Published here.


I wrote the above essay before my recent job change. Well, before a lot of things changed. December and January held a lot of change period, both personally and professionally.

 Just as I was sending this off to the editor of The Daily Runner, Jesus was beckoning me to step out of the boat again. It was time for my faith to be challenged and stretched and strengthened.

I wanted to post what I wrote here because it is fresh to me and not just about something that happened a couple of years ago. It is about yesterday…about today as I sit here typing on this frigid, snow-blown, February 1st…and about tomorrow whatever it may hold.


From → Personal

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