Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Journeying With the Eyes of Faith

Photo by Neil Weaver Photography

Several years ago when I began this blog, it was all about our family's journey.  We were searching our way through to the Catholic Church, through homeschooling, and into a new phase of our lives.  Almost eight years later, I am truly amazed at the things God has done, and the multitude of lessons we have learned.

Another part of my blog has been to share some of my personal struggles and the ups and downs of dealing with panic attacks and anxiety.  Whew!  Now, that should have been a blog of its own!  Again, I stand amazed at the people God has brought into my life and the ways He has walked me through this winding, bumpy roller coaster called life!

Let me take you down a new path today.  This is a place God is leading me, and I'd like to invite you to join me.

Last Sunday, the Gospel reading for the day was from Matthew 14:22-33:

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side,
while he dismissed the crowds. 
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. 
When it was evening he was there alone. 
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. 
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea. 
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. 
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. 
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 
He said, “Come.” 
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 
After they got into the boat, the wind died down. 
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

I had just finished reading Ted Dekker's first book in "The Outlaw" series, which is titled, "Water Walker."  Without giving away too much of the story line, one of the greatest moments of the book is when a young woman realizes the only way she can walk on water is to let go of all that inhibits her.  In her case, it is bitterness and a stubborn refusal to forgive.

Tonight, I finished the last pages of a wonderful series by Richard Paul Evans:  "The Walk."  The title of the last book is???  "Walking on Water."  Do you think God is trying to say something to me?  :o)

During Sunday morning's homily, our pastor, Father Joe, began by talking about our need to see God as our Father.  We so often treat God as if He is an abusive Father, instead of the loving, caring, awesome Father He is.  When it comes to the invitation to walk out on the water with Him, we focus more on the waves than we focus on the Hand outstretched to us, thinking it must be a trick.  He must want us to sink, right?  

As I was pondering these thoughts, the question came to my mind:  What is hindering me from stepping out of the boat?  And when I do step out, what is it that I focus on, instead of Christ?

"Don't be afraid to let go of your fear."

Now that seems to be a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it?  But it's so true!  Even fear--as much as cripples a person--can be a sort of "comfort zone" in life.  It is a place we know, so it is easier than walking out onto those unknown waters in the storm of life.  In other words:  stick with what you know, so you don't have to try the new thing that might overwhelm you.  It is, in some ways, the same as a person who has become homeless.  Many times, even though this individual is given opportunities to leave the streets, move up in life, and separate themselves from their seeming circumstances of uncertainty, they choose the streets.  Why?  Because it's what they know.  Better to stick with what they know, than to face something new and unknown.

Really, though, what is there to fear?  If the One who created us is out on the water already, then it is a place of safety.  No matter what the circumstances my seem, it is the most secure place to be!  Life is an adventure, with many twists and turns.  Why walk that path alone?

Let's go walk on some water, friends.

"In the end, it is not by knowledge that we make our journeys but by hope and faith:  hope that our walk will be worthy of our steps and faith that we are going somewhere.  And only when we come to the end of our journeys do we truly understand that every step of the way we were walking on water."
                                                               ~ Richard Paul Evans, Walking on Water
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