Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” (Matthew 14:28)
Relate: Lord, if it is really You, tell me to come to You walking on the water. It is three AM. I don’t like being up this late but because there is an 8 hour time difference with everyone back in New York, it does happen more than I would care to admit. I was chatting with a friend a bit and that led to reading up a little more on CAIR. A podcast is playing with the fiery, anointed, but not always accurate John Gray is getting me all shaken up on the inside. Next thing I know I am reading up on the prophesies fulfilled by Jesus. I really should be sleeping and am about to shut it down for the night when I realize I haven’t written tomorrow’s devotional yet. If I am up this late now there is no way I will be able to be back up in three hours to give it the time these things deserve and have it done before church.
So it is three AM and I am reading Genesis 44 and 45. Then I skip over to Matthew 14. As I am reading this I feel God asking me, “Why haven’t you asked me this?”
That is not a fair question. I sold or gave away everything I own, paired my life’s possessions down to 100 pounds total divided into three suitcases, and hopped on to a plane not truly knowing where I would land to follow Jesus. I pretty much did the same thing again in moving from a safer Istanbul to here in Gaziantep this fall. I am watching as fewer and fewer Americans remain and even the ones willing to do so are being deported or barred from reentry. I have spent sleepless nights wondering where and how I will have funds to eat and leave the house every morning wondering if today is the day I will be noticed by the wrong polis or bureaucrat and am packing my bags to leave Turkey (or sitting in a jail cell for months like a friend in Izmir).
This is the laundry list I give to God but he just turns around and says again, “Why haven’t you asked me this?” I have no answer, but yet… I am incapable of asking. I am afraid if I do, “He will say, OK. Come.” That terrifies me.
Respond: Lord, if it is really You, tell me to come to You walking on the water. It is three AM. The disciples are in a boat trying to row through the night while the winds and choppy water are working against them. They are tired. They’re exhausted. They just participated in one of the greatest miracles a person could imagine. With a couple dinner roles and some sardines they fed five thousand people. Yes, Jesus was the one who performed the miracle, but it was the disciples handing it out. Can you imagine that? Can you even begin to fathom what must be going through their minds as they row away leaving Jesus back on the mountain for another one of His all night prayer sessions.
Each one of these men had given up everything to follow Jesus. Each one of them put aside jobs, family, possessions, security, and reputation to wander around following this homeless itinerant rabbi. Rowing hard through the night seems like a small price to pay to be one of His disciples, and yet still it is draining. Especially at 3 AM in the morning after a hard, miraculous, wonderful, fulfilling, backbreaking day serving the Master. Yet no matter how much each of them have already given up, when Jesus comes walking on the water, only one asks for permission to step out of the boat. Only one says to Jesus, “Tell me to come.”
We all tend to grade ourselves on a curve, don’t we? Everybody views themselves as better than average, usually far better. We all admit that we are no Mother Teresa, but most of us would like to think we are a lot closer to her than to Joe Stalin. We would all like to compare ourselves to those disciples, working hard in that boat and obeying Jesus. But Jesus is out on the water. Will we follow Him? Will you? Will I?
Even as I sit here and write and think and pray, I must admit that I stop short of asking for permission to step out of the boat. The thought that You will grant it scares me beyond words. I want to give up everything and follow You, but the word “come” freezes me to inaction. On my own, I will never have the courage to follow You with a reckless obedience. Take from me the mindset that following from the boat is good enough. Give me the faith to step out on to the water. I surrender all. Tell me to come, Lord.