There are times when God calls us to do something, and it terrifies us. We feel like Peter walking out of the boat toward Jesus during the storm. We take the first few steps out of safety, saying, “Yes, Lord, I will do this!” or “Yes, Lord, I will obey You!” Then bam! Reality hits us: we start to sink. Suddenly, what once seemed easy or within our grasp overwhelms us. We realize that if God doesn’t extend His hand toward us to pull us up from our chaos, we’ll drown.
I remember sitting down with a group of friends talking about destiny and our assignments in life, when one of them playfully remarked:
“You know it’s faith because if God doesn’t pull through for you, you’re dead.”
There have been many times when I’ve been like Peter. I hear the summons of God to do something, and I step out of the boat. I confidently walk toward the direction Jesus wants me to walk, then bam! A wave comes, topples me from off my certainty, and I find myself falling, falling, falling into the chaos of the moment. My own tears threaten to drown me.
I remember one incident of my “falling” chaos vividly: One day, I realized that I was lacking funds to complete the printing of a magazine I was publishing. My responsibilities with that line of work meant that I closed financial deals and made sure that business could continue. Since the magazine project was one where I had partnered with the Lord, I shot out a prayer to my Heavenly Father, “Lord,” I prayed. “It’s this time again. You promised me before that You would fund the magazine. You’ve always come through for us in the past, and I’m going to stand on Your faithfulness to me.”
However, the days started to pass and we were nearing the date of payment. I was getting anxious. In fact, it seemed as if I worried every minute of every day! All deals that could yield money had been closed. Sales gained from the previous magazine had already been accounted for. I couldn’t think of any other way to gather more funds except to borrow, which made me feel uncomfortable. We had never borrowed money before. Would I have to borrow now? That didn’t seem to be the answer.
“You own the cattle on a thousand hills,” I prayed. “and named the stars in the sky. And the magazine! Please send the money.” I imagined scenarios of our first foray into debt. No, no. Getting into debt didn’t sound like God.
I thought of the times God came through for me and the magazine.
Money always came on time. Wouldn’t it come now?
I thought back to the giants of Christian faith like George Mueller. I had read a story about him. He had run an orphanage, and one morning, there was no food in their cupboards for breakfast. Mueller didn’t panic. He, his wife, and the orphans simply sat around the table and went to God in prayer. They thanked their Heavenly Father for the food He was sending. When the prayer was over, a man knocked at the door. In his hands was a sack of potatoes*. God’s answer for breakfast came at the nick of time.
My emotions were a whirlwind. I tried to still my anxiety, but I couldn’t. God would come at the nick of time, I told myself again and again. But just like Peter, I was sinking. I was seeing the waves. How sure was I that God would provide this time around? I cried honestly before the Lord. “God, I’m not like George Mueller! I don’t have enough faith! I can’t keep from worrying! Please help me in my unbelief!” I spent the whole afternoon dealing with the little faith I had.
Finally, I said, “Lord, I don’t think my emotions can take this. I still trust You, but, uhm… can you send money this weekend? Please?”
I love it that the Bible talks about having faith as small as a mustard seed. I may not have been a giant of faith like George Mueller. I was more like Peter who saw the waves and sank! However, God heard my prayer and saw my little, flimsy faith. He moved that weekend.
A check arrived from a source I was not expecting, covering most of the amount due. In the following days, more money came trickling in from unexpected sources. By the time it was the due date for our payment, there was enough money to cover the whole printing expense. I was a very thankful person by the end of the week.
Thinking back at this incident makes me smile. God had exposed the smallness of my faith, and yet, He showed me that whatever little faith I had mattered to Him.
One of God’s names is this: the Author and Finisher of our Faith. We may start out like Peter who took a few steps in faith on the water, then sank in doubt. God is faithful to build in us greater character, greater Faith. He isn’t dampened by our failures. He sees us get out of the boat and actually cheers us on toward Him. He isn’t surprised when we sink. In fact, He reaches out his hand toward us. Then lovingly, He says, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” It is a question not to condemn us; but rather, to strengthen our faith in Him. It is His power, after all, that makes us walk on water in the first place.
As we move in God-given assignments for our lives, do we have enough faith that Jesus is with us to catch us when we sink? Our journey in life will ALWAYS require faith.
*in some versions of the story, the man held bread and milk
Writer’s Bio: Janina Rivera has spent the last six years publishing and editing One Voice Magazine. She is currently a freelance wordsmith who enjoys writing about what matters most in life.