Have you ever felt like God is asking too much of you? That you don’t have what it takes? That you want to obey, but it’s all just too difficult and too scary?
I’ve been there many times. I like the idea of stepping out in faith, in bold obedience, and I know in my head that I can trust God, but when it comes down to it, I falter. In theory I long for adventure, but in practice I’d often rather cling to the safety of the boat than take the risk of stepping out onto the waves.
God and I were arguing about this one day… well, I suppose I was doing most of the arguing. It was a few years ago, and I can’t even remember what he was asking me to do. Obviously, looking back it was nothing major, but at the time it felt like an impossible task. I felt inadequate and ill-equipped, sure I wasn’t ready; I started to doubt myself, to doubt God, to doubt everything.
I don’t remember the situation, but I do remember God’s gentle whisper and the words that stopped me in my tracks:
“I didn’t calm the storm before Peter walked on water.”
In other words, if God is calling us to do something, we can’t wait for conditions to be favourable. We can’t wait to feel ready or for it to feel easy. We just have to obey.
Sometimes God calls us out onto the stormy seas, and sometimes that is the best place of all for us to be. If you’re anything like me, the reality is that if we can do it in our own strength, we will do it in our own strength. But the stormy seas, the places where we’re called out of our depth and out of our comfort zones, are where we learn to trust him and fix our eyes on him, where we learn to depend on him rather than on ourselves, where we see and experience for ourselves that he is faithful.
Even knowing this, though, it’s still not always easy to find the courage to step out, but the more I consider it, the more I think the key is in choosing which voice to listen to.
We can listen to the voice of fear, which comes from the enemy and pounds us with lies:
- “It’s impossible.”
- “You’re not good enough.”
- “You’re going to fail.”
- “You’re going to make a fool of yourself.”
- “You must be deluded if you think God would want to use you.”
If that is where we choose to focus, we don’t stand a chance.
But what if, instead, we chose to listen to the voice of truth?
- “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)
- “God… is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
- “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)
- “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 NLT)
When we really listen to that voice and believe the words it speaks, I think the courage to step out follows. It doesn’t mean we’ll always get it right or that everything will work out perfectly, and it certainly doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it means we’ll find the strength to step out, knowing he is with us.
And it reassures me that when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and ended up sinking beneath the waves, Jesus didn’t let him drown. Immediately he reached out and pulled him to safety. He will not abandon us, even when we falter.
The lies can be powerful, but the truth is always stronger. Let’s choose to put our focus there today and step out in obedience wherever He is calling us.