The Will of God, Part 2 - In His Grip - Week of Jan. 25, 2016

The Will of God, Can You Really Know it? Part 2

Too many of us sit around and wait for God to make it abundantly clear what His plan for us is as if God is under our command rather than the other way around. Tell me. Tell me right now. This job or that? Marry this person? Pursue this education? Write this book? Teach this class? Tell me, God. Write it in the sky or show me a verse. Right now.

Last week we saw that we can always know God’s will for each moment, each day. His will is that we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).” While we are waiting for that sign in the sky, God calls us to walk by faith, to reflect Jesus in every minute of our lives, to make our highest priority His glory. That is His will. Ok, so where do we do that? What job. What family? With what spouse? The questions are unending when it comes to wanting to know exactly where we are to “seek His Kingdom.”

I tell people who are seeking God’s will in their calling that God hits moving targets. Yes, we pray and we wait. But we also move around in that waiting room. We must learn to walk through doors just as Jesus walked through walls. We must learn to get out of the boat and step into the water as Peter did with the full intention of focusing only upon the call of Jesus for us to come to Him. Remember what Peter said as he saw Jesus walking on the water, “Lord if it is you command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said to him, “Come.”  Did you catch that? Peter did not merely ask Jesus for permission to come but for permission to come on the water. Peter wanted a miracle.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. [23] And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, [24] but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. [25] And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. [26] But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. [27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” [28] And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” [29] He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” [31] Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” [32] And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. [33] And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33 ESV)

I have often wondered what those few seconds between Peter’s question and Jesus call must have been like for our man Peter. Did he doubt? Did he plan to even ask that question or did it just pop out of his mouth the same way a lot of Peter’s most memorable moments did? And when he got out of the boat and actually began to walk on the water what was he thinking? Did he say, “Oh, cool! I am walking on water. What a great plus this will be on my resume. Peter the soul surfer. Or did he think, “What am I doing? Who do I think I am? Am I crazy?” We are not told what Peter thought but we are told what Peter did.  Matthew tells us that Peter saw the wind. But wind is invisible. We can hear the wind but we can only see the effects of the wind such as waves and rip currents. So Peter took his eyes off Jesus and instead focused on the waves beating around him. Then he began to sink like a lead cooler.

But before we condemn Peter for his faithlessness I have a question for you and me. Would I have taken that step of faith and jumped out of the boat? Would I have obeyed the command of Jesus to follow him even though I did not know if I would sink or swim? This is what I mean when I say that God hits moving targets. As long as our focus is on Jesus and his great love for me I do not need to know every jot and tittle of what the next chapter in my life will look like. I simply need to get out of the boat and jump into the water. I must not “see” the wind but only see the face of Jesus.  

In Mark’s Gospel, this story is also told but with a different twist. The point of Jesus walking on water was not to perform some magic trick or illusion. In fact, the story had little to do with the actual walking on water and more to do with the identity of Jesus. Mark adds this interesting footnote to the entire miracle:

And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, [52] for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:51-52 ESV)

This miracle comes on the heels of another miracle, the feeding of the 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. Coupled with the miracle of Jesus walking on the water the lesson they missed was this – Jesus was and is God incarnate for only God controls the elements and only God can bring sustenance out of nothing. If you truly desire to know the will of God for you it must begin with you grasping the truth that when you are dealing with Jesus you are dealing with God in the flesh. Keeping our eyes fixed on that fact coupled with our willingness to get out of the proverbial boat and move will assure you that God indeed hits moving targets. So move! Don’t just sit there and wait for an engraved invitation. Walk though whatever doors appear to be opened but do so with your eyes fixed upon the fact that your life is being held tightly in the grip of God’s amazing grace.

In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters

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