Picture this: Three girls are sitting in a canoe on windy waters. One of them is in the middle, clutching onto the sides of the boat for dear life as it tilts and bobs. Even though her friends are paddling and assuring her that everything is perfectly fine, she can’t stop shaking and singing “Oceans” by Hillsong.
That girl is me.
It sounds ridiculous now, considering how I was wearing a life jacket and was in a boat with two skillfully trained swimmers who I love and trust. But sitting in that canoe last weekend reminded me just how shaky and unstable this life can feel sometimes. Like a beautiful, scary, and mysterious adventure.
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 29-31 NIV)
I know I quote this passage a lot, but it is just that relevant. Anyone who has struggled with anxiety or fear can relate to Peter’s woes in those stormy waters.
As I was trying to keep calm on that canoe, all I could think about was the movie, The Shack. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It’s an inspiring story about a man named Mack, who has an encounter with God after a series of tragic, faith-shaking events in his life.
In one scene of the movie, Mack is in a boat, being plagued by dismal waters. He can’t see any way out. He is completely consumed by darkness and fear.
That is, until Jesus shows up. Suddenly God is asking Mack to focus his gaze on Him instead of the dark waves around him. When Mack finally musters the courage and faith to do this, he finds that the storm around him dissipates. He is free to see only Jesus.
There came a point when I was sitting in that little canoe that I realized I would have to trust Jesus and that He is who He says He is. My fear didn’t matter, and it would serve no purpose in my life other than to paralyze me.
When I stop to think about what might have happened to me if I had tipped over the canoe, I realize that God would have kept me safe. He has never let me down before, so why would He start now? Instead of being like Peter and focusing on the rough waters around me, I should have just kept my eyes on Jesus.
I don’t know where you are in life or your walk with God, lovely reader. Maybe you don’t even know who Jesus is. But I urge you to remember that nothing you can do will cease the waves and storms of this life. Only God’s perfect peace can bring you through it.
It can be so easy to look at all of the problems and stress around us, but we need to remember that there is a God who is bigger than any storm we may face.
Despite my anxiety-ridden first experience at canoeing, I still ended up having a blast with my friends. I also learned that faith requires trust, despite the stormy seas of life. If I keep looking at the King who holds my entire world, I know that no matter what, I am safe.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8 NIV)
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