One of the adventures I love is leading tours of the Holy Land. Seeing God’s Word come alive in people’s lives is something that I really enjoy. Each time I go to Israel, one of my favorite places to go is the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
I seem to always think about that time Jesus came to His disciples walking on the water, and Peter called out to the Lord to walk on the water. Jesus told Peter, “Come!”
At that point Peter had a decision to make about his faith in the Lord. He had to step out of the boat or sit down in the boat depending on his faith.
You know it is easy for us to say we believe the Lord, and we put our faith in Him, but it is another thing to step out of the boat and walk on water when He tells us to “Come.”
In other words, there are times we know in our heart God has called us to do something and go outside our comfort zone, but to do so requires active faith. Faith will be required to go on that mission trip, take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, start that new group, teach that class, help in VBS, go and meet your new neighbors, invite a friend to church, or to be honest about issues in your life.
Let me give you an example of what our faith in God often looks like. It was summer in the rural Mississippi Delta and a massive drought threatened the crop in the region around a small Delta farming town in East Arkansas.
On a hot and dry Sunday, the local pastor told his congregation, “There isn’t anything that will save us or our crop except to pray for rain. Go home, pray, believe and come back next Sunday ready to thank God for sending rain.”
The people did as they were asked and returned to church the following Sunday. The congregation was buzzing with talk, recounting and sharing with excitement over the challenge the pastor had given the previous Sunday.
But as soon as the pastor saw them, he was visibly upset because of their indifference, disobedience, prayerlessness and faithlessness. The people were dumbfounded by his response. They did their best to understand why the pastor was so upset. Finally, one of the church leaders spoke up and asked the pastor why he was so upset with them.
The pastor said to the congregation, “We can’t even worship today. You do not yet believe God or that He is in control!” One of the deacons rose and said, “But we did as you asked pastor. We all prayed for rain, and we do believe God will send rain.” “Believe? I tell you that you do not believe!” the pastor replied, “If you really believe God will send rain, then tell me one thing — where are your umbrellas?”
This issue is not our needing more faith in God. The issue is we need to take what faith we do have and begin to exercise it, use it, and put it into practice. When you do, you will be amazed to see how great it is to answer Jesus’ call to “come” and walk on the water with Him!
Where in your life do you need to walk on water by faith? What area of your church does God require that you get out of the boat and walk on water? God wants to send the rain of His blessings and power into our lives. Folks, bring the umbrellas and trust God for the rain! B&R — Hallmark is pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington.