Leslie Shields has a doctorate in Christian Education and Evangelism. Her heart is to help others apply the Word of God to everyday living.
I love to swim! I began learning to swim when I was 7 years old. I am now much older than 7...actually I am quite a few multiples of 7. I still enjoy swimming and continue to learn new things about the activity every day.
There is one particular swimming stroke, that I have always avoided because I had a hard time coordinating the breathing with the arm movement and the kicking.
Ofen when trying this stroke I would start off well but after the first few minutes, I would panic, forget how to breathe, forget how to kick, lose my concentration, get too much water in my nose and have to stop.
I understood the directions on how to perform the stroke, but I just couldn't get it together.
It's All Over When You Panic!
Perhaps, had I not panicked I could have continued to practice and eventually really learned the stroke. But panic I did. Why did I panic? I panicked because I switched my focus from wanting to learn the stroke to the realization that I don't breathe water, and if I didn't get this right I could drown.
Since we are not fish, learning how to breathe and learning not panicking in the water is how we are able to swim. We can relate this to our faith walk. We understand that without faith it is impossible to please God, and, we really want to please God, but when it comes to using our faith to obey God, we panic.
Lord! I'll Go! - I Think.....
In prayer, the Lord puts it on your heart to go into ministry, move to another state, give a certain amount of money away, or, to forgive. While we are in His presence, we agree, we feel great and, we are certain that it is the Lord who we are listening to.
But, what happens when we leave His presence? Most of us forget what He told us to do and even more of us pass His instructions off as being our own imagination or desire. We begin to consider the natural circumstances surrounding His request and we panic.
Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and was fascinated. Peter called out to the Lord wanting to walk out on the water and go to the Lord. When Jesus told Peter to come on out. Peter was confident and sure that he would get to Jesus.
Matthew 14:24, 29-31 [Living Bible Version]
24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
Matthew 14:24 says before Jesus came to them on the water that the wind and waves were already strong and the disciples were in trouble because of that. The King James Bible Version says that they were tossed with waves; for the sea was contrary.
Matthew 14:24, 29-31 [King James Version]
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
So, in the midst of the strong wind and the contrary waves, Peter asked the Lord to let him come to Him. Peter was cool when he first got out of the boat. No doubt it was thrilling and fun for Peter. But, soon the thrill was gone. What happened?
Matthew 14:30-31 [Living Bible Version]
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the strong[b] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Start Strong - Stay Strong
Peter was bold enough to step out at the Lord's command onto a sea that was tossing the boat he was riding in. He stepped out onto a sea with strong winds blowing and waves that were crashing.
Jesus was still walking in spite of the circumstances. We must know that the water didn't just get rough on Peter's side of the boat. it was rough all over. Jesus was experiencing the same wind and the same waves. Jesus kept His focus on His purpose. He was not distracted by any natural circumstance.
Peter on the other hand was distracted by the wind and the waves.He had been riding in a boat that the same wind and the same waves had been tossing around. He wasn't afraid while he was riding. While he was riding, he paid no undue attention to the circumstances of the wind and the waves.
He couldn't have been too scared while in the boat because he asked Jesus to let him come onto those crashing waves. Why then did he begin to sink? We all know why. Peter took his eyes off his purpose which was to get to Jesus.
The wind and waves that hadn't bothered Peter before. The wind and waves that had been tossing their boat around all night suddenly became a source of fear for Peter.
Peter switched his focus from Jesus and put it on the natural realities of the wind and the waves around him..... he began to sink and cried out to the Lord to save him. And of course, Jesus saved him.
How Does This Relate to Me?
What about our lives? We live with circumstances every day. They don't bother us until we have to get out of our comfort zone. We want to get out, we want to do new and different things. We want to obey God.
So, why don't we?
What have you had your eye on and wanted to do? What has been there all of the time, but now has become a distraction to you? Have you panicked because of the circumstances? What have you needed to be rescued from because the circumstances made you take your eye off of your goal?
It Could Have Been Different
No doubt, I could have learned that swimming stroke had I not lost focus. No doubt Peter could have kept walking on the water had he not lost his focus. No doubt you can accomplish your goal, and you can do whatever the Lord has told you to do if you don't lose your focus.
Circumstances will always come. Situations will always arise. That is the way of the world. But your faith, your trust in your focus will carry you through to your goal.
By the way, just last week I mastered that swimming stroke and now enjoy the victory of having reached that accomplishment. Peter became one of the boldest and well-known Apostles of them all. What will you do?
There is nothing impossible to those who believe, and it is never too late to begin again.
Be Blessed [Mark 9:3]
Leslie A. Shields (author) from Georgia on October 19, 2020:
Thanks Neha for your compliment!
Neha J from Delhi on October 19, 2020:
Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing the truth with illustrations. Blessings.