I had no intention of writing this. I sat down this morning to write about another checkout-line epiphany I had yesterday. After spending a half an hour with my concordance, seeking scriptural passages that related to that experience with no success, I came across Matthew 14:27-31. At first I thought, “This has nothing to do with yesterday’s
experience,” but, I kept re-reading the passage. It may not have been relevant to what I’d sat down to write about, but I had the feeling that the Lord had led me to it for a purpose. So I wrote this, instead
Walking on Water.
I specialize in doing things that I have no idea how to do. That’s because God has a habit of asking me to do his work, without any apparent regard for whether or not I think that I can do it. He has a lot more faith in me than I sometimes have in him. But, if God asks us to do something, you know that he will give us whatever we need to do it, no matter how impossible the task may seem to be. But, when push comes to shove and we are faced with the task ahead, our faith wavers.
Twelve years ago, the Lord asked me to start a gospel quartet. Or, at least I thought that was what he was asking. It seemed like a frivolous request, from my viewpoint. I had just joined the Men’s Chorus of Union Baptist Church in Stamford, Connecticut, and it seemed like the height of insensitivity for me to start a gospel quartet within the Chorus, only having been a member for a couple of months while there with others in the Chorus who had sung black gospel and in quartets for most of their lives. At first I thought, “God certainly can’t be asking me to start a gospel quartet. I’m a white folk singer from Wisconsin. Perhaps it was a clerical error,” but, there’s no way to mark “Delivered to Wrong Address, Return to Sender” when you get a message from God. Looking back, I see that I was far more concerned about what people would think of me than I was about God. Certainly, he would understand. But, the Lord wouldn’t let me rest. When he wants you to do something, he doesn’t let you off the hook that easily. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do what God asked me to do. It was that I didn’t believe that I could do it.
The Bible is full of stories where people fail to do the Lord’s will out of their lack of faith. One of the best remembered is recounted in Matthew:
Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said Lord if it be thou, bid me come with thee on the water.
And he said, come, and when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus
But when he saw the wind, boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him and said unto him, Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt
Matthew 14: 27-31
I see a lot of Peter in me. When God calls me to do something, I start out full of resolve, but when the first stormy billows rise I become fearful and start to sink. I guess that’s what they mean about being a “fair weather friend.”
Many years ago, I awakened with my heart filled with dread. The previous day I had received a phone call from a dear friend who just called to say “Goodbye.” He was facing storms in his life that were too much for him to bear, and he couldn’t reach out to Jesus, because he’d never known him, or God. He couldn’t see any way forward, and he was sinking beneath the waves. My heart went out to him, because we had shared so much over the years. I’d spoken often about my faith, but it was something that we never shared. Out of compassion for him, the words to a song rose up in my heart:
I woke up Monday morning
My heart was filled with pain
Another long-time friend was gone
And he never once blessed your name
Jesus Move on the Water by Jerry Rasmussen
And I called out to Jesus:
Jesus move on the water
Reach out your loving hand
Another poor soul is sinking down
Won’t you lend him a helping hand
Christ reaches his hand out to us and says “come.” He probably should wear a t-shirt that says, “What part of “Come” don’t you understand?” The only response should be, “I’m coming! Jesus.” Too often we get bogged down with concern about the practicality of his invitation. At least I do. It’s not necessary to understand what he is calling you to do.
All you got to do is knuckle down to it
Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it
You Can’t Roller skate in a Buffalo Herd by
The last line of Jesus Move on the Water tells you all that you need to know:
Jesus walked on the water
Moses parted the sea
You can walk on the water, too
If only you believe