Remember swimming as a kid? You stretched out your leg to touch bottom … and it wasn’t there! Maybe your eyes got wide with fear and you felt that instant panic start to whirl in your gut! It was terrifying, if only for a brief moment, until you regained your footing.
He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. -Matthew 14:29
Jesus invited Peter to do what was impossible — walk on water. Peter, a seasoned fisherman! He’d just worked all night and came up empty – he knew that he knew that he knew, there just aren’t any fish there. (Luke 5:4-5)
In both cases Jesus told Peter to do what seemed impossible and what was impossible.
Jesus invited Peter to trust. Jesus invites us to trust. Step into the unknown. Step deep, where you don’t know what will happen. Step deep, where there is nothing underneath you. Step deep where your fear will well up in you.
REALITIES ABOUT STEPPING INTO THE DEEP
So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you. -Genesis 12:13
Sarah had a decision to make; a forced decision. Not due to anything she had done, but because of how beautiful God had created her. Abraham had enjoyed that beauty so long as it was good for him, but as soon as it became a liability, he sold her out. Because of Abraham‘s fear and tendency to lie under pressure (it happened twice), he asked her to sacrifice herself rather than sacrificing himself. Sarah chose to risk. There will be risk when you put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. -Romans 12:17-21
We all know what Jesus is saying here, we just don’t like what it means and how it will make us look, especially when it‘s applied to marriage.
A deep step will cause you to appear different from those around you. I don’t mean you’ll look like a religious ‘geek’ or a throw-back from the 1950/60s. There is a love that the world won’t allow but it will show up in your relationships. It will supernaturally funnel its way through you like it did with Jesus. Radical mercy doesn’t fight for its own rights. Radical grace is about others, not self. Radical love doesn’t consider how it was wronged, only about how others are going to be hurt by God’s revenge, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” -Luke 23:34. It will look radical when consider your spouse ahead of yourself.
And when those who belonged to Him (His kinsmen) heard it, they went out to take Him by force, for they kept saying, He is out of His mind (beside Himself, deranged)! And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, He is possessed by Beelzebub, and, By [the help of] the prince of demons He is casting out demons. -Mark 3:21-22
The deep you step into will feel crazy and people will back up this notion. To your human senses it’s unpreserved and unprotected. The ones closest to you will appeal to your sense of self-protectiveness. People will say you are crazy and not hearing from God; but Satan. It’s the voice of the world, not the Spirit, that says choose self. It will feel counter-intuitive to choose your spouse over yourself.
The Outcome is Unknown
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1
If we knew the outcome beforehand, we wouldn’t need faith. The deep we step into will always be a weakness and that’s what scares us. Like standing in a lit room when the lights go out; engulfed in darkness, there’s no way to tell what the outcome will be, only God knows. Being blind in the natural strengthens your confidence in God.
God Knows What Your Deep is
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. -1 Corinthians 10:13
Everyone’s deep is different because we are all growing from different places in our relationship with God. Our deep feels deep because it is weak. Those particular faith muscles are small, but will be bigger and stronger after you step into the deep. We miss-step and fall and God knows that, that’s why Jesus is there! On the water with the waves that toss and threaten to overtake the boat. See here where Peter was invited to walk!
Peter’s storm can be a metaphor of what it might feel like inside ourselves during a turbulent circumstance or relational crisis. And the more chop there is, the greater the temptation is to try and escape. To run back to the boat … away from Jesus. If the choice is to leave the ’storm’ and run back to the boat of protection, a way to endure is not needed – God is not needed.
When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. -James 1:2-4