Monday, June 27, 2011

My Comfortable Boat

At our church, we have community groups where around 8 people (or 6 couples) commit to meeting together on a regular basis (usually weekly) to study the Bible and build relationships.  Even the children’s ministry has adopted this model.  My son started kindergarten last year and was placed with a small group leader who will follow him as he moves from grade to grade until he enters middle school.  He’s really gotten attached to his small group leader, and he really takes it hard when she’s not there.  Today we went to church and we walked him to his room like we do every week.  When we got there, they said that his group leader wasn’t there and that he would be in a different group today.  He completely flipped out.  You’d think they were about to haul him off to prison. 

Do you do that sometimes?  How do you respond when it becomes clear that you are going to have to leave your place of comfort and meet new people, go to a new environment, etc.?  Do you throw a tantrum?  Do you ignore it for as long as you possibly can and hope it goes away?  I’m embarrassed to say that in my younger years I did that for a while about the dentist.  I hate cleanings.  I especially hate the thing where they polish your teeth afterwards with that spinning, vibrating thing.  My teeth are very sensitive and it drives me crazy.  So in my infinite wisdom I just stopped going when I graduated from college… for 4 years.  7 cavities and a root canal later, I understood the value of dental cleanings.

We just don’t want to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable, and we often don’t want to take risks.  This is especially true when God is calling us out of our comfort zones.  And if you haven’t noticed, God has a tendency to do that.  The best way to test and strengthen our faith is to ask us to get out of the boat, step into the unknown, and trust Him. 

Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.  About three o'clock in the morning* Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!"
But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"
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.
Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  (Matthew 14:24-29)  NLT

Following Jesus can be uncomfortable, even a little scary at times.  It’s supposed to be.  That’s how we grow.  But we can trust Him to meet our needs and take care of us in the uncertainty.  Is Jesus calling you to do something you don’t really want to do?  The God of the universe wants you to trust Him… and He wants to have an opportunity to come through for you and show you how invested He is in your life and how much he wants what’s best for you.  He wants to show you how real He really is.  If you never step out of the boat, you’ll never know.

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