Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Walking On Water

For those of us who grew up in church, we are very familiar with the Bible story of Peter's water walking journey. For the benefit of those who don't know it so well, here's the Kara Notes (similar to Cliff Notes, but my name's not Cliff...so I'm calling them Kara Notes! )...

It was right after Jesus fed the multitude with one little boy's lunch. Jesus sent the disciples in the boat ahead of Him to the other side while He sent the crowds away and went up on the mountain to pray alone. Way out in the water, the disciples spot Jesus walking on water and think they're seeing a ghost! Jesus immediately speaks to their fear and says, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter, apparently the bold one in the bunch, says if it's really Jesus, that Jesus should command Peter to come to Him. Jesus takes him up on it and simply says, "Come!" So, Peter hoists his legs over the side of the boat and starts walking on water, his eyes focused totally on Jesus. But then something happens...perhaps the waves splash up on his feet and legs or the wind whips his hair in his face, but all of a sudden, Peter realizes the very real danger of being that far out in the water without a boat. He takes his eyes off Jesus and immediately begins to sink. He cries out, "Lord, save me!" and Jesus reaches out His hand to him saying, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" Then they get back in the boat and the storm is over. (If you want to read the actual account of this story and not just my humble paraphrase - check out Matthew 14:22-33)

At this point, if you are still with me, you may be wondering why in the world I felt the need to share that story on my blog. Well, the answer to that is pretty simple...because today during my Quiet Time alone with God, He showed me just how much Peter and I are alike! I can't tell you how many times I've heard that story and thought, how in the world did Peter have enough faith to get out of the boat and not make it all the way to Jesus? Oh, how many times I've judged Peter for his lack of faith! I very piously sit back and think, if it had been ME looking Jesus in the face, I NEVER would have taken my eyes off Him! You know what they say about the word NEVER? Yep...you should NEVER say NEVER...because it will ALWAYS come back to haunt you! ;)

I can tell you, as I sat down on the couch this morning with my cup of coffee, my Bible, and my prayer journal to meet with God, Peter was the farthest person from my mind, let alone his water walking journey! It wasn't even part of my Bible reading...so as I started writing in my prayer journal and suddenly realized just how much I was like Peter, I knew it came straight from God...and boy, was I humbled by it! Even as I was writing in my prayer journal, I came to the realization that I needed to share it with you. While I only intended to retell what I learned in my prayer journaling this morning, right now, I have a very strong conviction that I just need to let you read it for yourself. So, I'm going to do something I don't often do, and share with you word-for-word what I wrote in my prayer journal today. If it somehow helps you, then even better. All I ask is that you not judge me unkindly for stepping out in faith and sharing from my heart. As I said, when I wrote this journal, it was intended as a private conversation between God and me alone...but, as He sometimes does on rare occasions, I feel He wants me to share it with you, as well. :) So, here goes...

Heavenly Father,
In the midst of the craziness of my life, I feel that time is both moving too fast and too slow at the same time. Too fast, in that so many things seem to be happening all at once. Too slow, in that I want this adoption to be completed yesterday! And yet, there still appears to be no way for this adoption to happen. I need some assurance, Lord. I don't want to doubt - I want to believe You will make this happen. I want to have unwavering faith. When I look around at all You have already done, I feel like such a fool for doubting You. And yet, when I look at how far we have to go, I get so afraid. (Side Note: As you will see, this is the point where God pointed out to me that I was like Peter!) I guess I'm like Peter on the water. When my eyes are focused on You alone, I feel like nothing is impossible. But when I look around at the waves (in this case, adoption costs), then my fear grabs hold and I start to sink. And once again, I must cry out, "Help me, Lord!" - just like Peter!
I used to wonder how Peter could have enough faith in You to get out of the boat in the first place, and yet lose that faith half-way across the ocean, and become afraid of the waves. Didn't he see the waves before he got out of the boat? Of course he did - but that wasn't his focus then. His focus was on You! But when he took his eyes off You and looked around, the danger of the waves became his focus and he began to fear. When he began to fear, he began to sink. While he was sinking, he returned his focus to You and called out for help. You reached out and drew him close to You.
I see that in this situation (our adoption). When my focus is on You, and only You, then I believe with my whole heart that this adoption is going to happen. But all it takes is for someone to ask how far along we are in the process - perhaps like the waves splashing up on Peter's legs and feet - and then I realize how far we have to go and that becomes my focus. When I focus on how little we have raised compared to how much is due, then my faith begins to fade and my heart begins to sink! I become overwhelmed with the thought that it won't happen and once again, I call out, "Help me, Lord!" - and EVERY. TIME. You come through! Thank you, Lord! Amen

Notice that at no point in my journaling did God tell me HOW He would provide...but He showed me instead what I needed to see more than any amount of money in our adoption fund...His faithfulness to always be there, to always provide what we need when we need it! I've had a couple of people remind me lately that even if this adoption does not happen, that God's will would still be done. And they are right - no matter what answer God gives, it is always according to His will. I realize that these individuals are mostly concerned for how we will handle it God chooses to answer differently than we hoped. And, I can share with you (and them) that if His answer is no, then we will indeed mourn the loss...but we will also accept His will and trust that He has something better for us! By the same token, can I also share something very cool with you? EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that I have come to a point when I was so overwhelmed with the thought this adoption wouldn't happen and was ready to give up...at that very moment, God shows up in some way to renew my faith....just like He reached out His hand to Peter as he was sinking from doubt! So, I have to believe that He has a plan. I don't know what that plan is or from where the help will come...except that it will come from the Lord! This morning, a verse popped in my head even before I began my Quiet Time...it was from a Psalm I learned in RefresHer (our Ladies' Bible Study class at church) some time ago. And so, I will close this blog post with it...

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains -
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip -
He who watches over you will not slumber;

Indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you -
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;

The sun will not harm you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm -
He will watch over your life.;

The Lord will watch over your coming and going
Both now and forevermore.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Kara for posting this and for sharing what God has spoken to you. It's so easy to be distracted & lose our focus on Him & His plan for us. I think many of us can identify with what you're going through. I will be praying for you. Linda Germana

Kara said...

Thank you, Linda! :)

jennifer said...

I honestly feel like I am on this journey with you! Know that I will be praying through every step, and will be hoping right along side of you!

Love you friend!