I have been listening to Hillsong United’s song “Oceans” no less than three or four times a day. This is where this post comes from. If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and listen. It is powerful. It is challenging. It is true.
The ocean. So big and vast and mysterious. I have always had a terrible amount of fear when it comes to swimming in the ocean. It could be attributed to the time when I was six or seven years old and was floating on this very dense, nothing short of Styrofoam board, and the tide took me down the coastline further than I was comfortable with. It could be attributed to the fact that one can ride the waves and by the time I’ve reached the shallow end, the fisherman has pulled a shark from the same wave I’ve ridden. It could be attributed to the countless jellyfish that end up on the sandy beach, and I dread the thought of being stung. It could be attributed to a lot of the things. But then again, there are those times when I forget everything I’ve known and stay swimming in the immensity of the waters and ride the waves in and jump the waves and float on my back for hours. Those are the times I long for. The times where I forget fear and float and am recklessly abandoned to the ocean and all there is.
In Matthew 14, Jesus asked Peter to come towards Him by walking on the water. Peter left the boat and walked toward Jesus. Yet, when the wind started swirling and the waves started tossing against him, Peter looked down. He had taken his eyes off the one who He had called him – the one who called him to be a disciple, the one who provided for him in numerous ways, the one who performed miracles before his very eyes, and most importantly – the one who called him to step out of the boat. He saw his circumstances in the midst of the waters and began to fall. When Jesus reaches to rescue Peter, He says, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
Every time I hear this song, I think of myself being asked by Jesus (much like Peter) to step out of the boat and walk towards Him. I’m not much of a risk-taker and like a certain amount of control, so I can only imagine what my response might be. One can only hope that with Jesus doing the asking, I’d make a leap for it. However, in real life as in right now, those controlled environments lead me to put up borders. It goes something like “Okay God, I’ll trust you with this area of my life. But not this or that… or even maybe that. I’ll take care of it.” Now one such as myself doesn’t just vocally say this out loud. Rather, it’s played out in my actions. My trust in the Lord goes to a certain point. That certain point is up to the point where I think my control is better and should take over. Imagine me on the coast of South Carolina walking into the ocean. I go just to the point where I can see my feet and the sand below. That’s my life. I’ll go up to the point of trusting God with certain things rather than releasing it all to Him and jumping right into the ocean.. or running across it towards Him. He calls us to follow Him. By follow Him, we are completely dependent on Him and trusting in Him. Walking up on the waters, we are looking to Him – and not to the waves or the winds. Walking in this life He has gifted us, we are looking to Him – and not our circumstances or weakness or difficulties.
Spirit lead me to where my trust is without borders.
Spirit lead me to do away with perimeters that I place on You.
Spirit demolish my fear.
Spirit guide me to walk according to Your ways.
Spirit increase my faith to step out of the boat.
Spirit give me the strength to walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.
Spirit be gracious to me as I grow in the grace and knowledge of who You are.
Spirit lead me to a place of reckless abandon.
Spirit rescue me when I doubt.
… And that makes the vast and mysterious ocean more tolerable…more pleasurable.. more relaxing. Because when we are relaxing in the ocean, we are allowing the Lord to have complete control…Complete control without borders.