Tag Archives: David

Walking on Water

I cannot walk on water, liquid water, that is.  I do occasionally walk on the frozen variety, and slip on it, as the bruise on my back attests to.  I can walk among the vapor state of water, was driving through it last night, very slowly.  I cannot walk on water.  Not by my own power.  For the physics nerds I know, I suppose there might be some sort of device to attach to my feet to make it possible to walk on the surface of liquid water.  Something like a ‘snowshoe’ for water or boats for my feet.  After all, I am able to float on top of water when I swim, or when I am in a boat.  I leave that to the physicists.  Under my own power, I am not able to walk on water.

“And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’  And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.'”  Matthew 14:25-27

Jesus, fully human and fully divine, walked on water.  He had human feet which displaced water the same way mine do.  Yet, He walked on the surface of the water.  His divine nature interrupted the laws of physics so that He could walk on water.  Mark would have us believe that Jesus was planning to pass by His disciples in the boat (Mark 6:48).  He needed to get to the other side of the sea, more work to do, more hearts to convince, more souls to save.  Always more souls to save.  His disciples were “straining at the oars”, the wind against them.  They were having trouble getting where they needed to go.  But Jesus walked into the head wind, with ease, on the surface of the water.

The disciples did not call on the power of God to help them overcome their predicament.  They did not marvel at their Teacher.  They did not recall the great miracle He had done just hours before, feeding five thousand hungry people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  Rather, they thought Him a ghost, something they did not understand, something they feared.  Every one of them saw Jesus walking on the surface of the water, and not one of them recalled the miraculous scene they witnessed just hours before.  No David in their midst to encourage faith instead of fear, to slay the wind with faithful courage and five smooth stones (1 Samuel 17:1-54).

Jesus calls out to them, tells them not to be afraid, that it is He, their Teacher, their Friend, who used the power of God to feed a multitude with a pittance of resources.  Peter is not convinced.  Or, isn’t he?  “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  (Matthew 14:28)  If it was not Jesus, Peter knew he would  start sinking with his first step on the surface.  If it was not Jesus, would a ghost command him to come? Finally, faith!  I can see Satan grinding his teeth at this one.  Peter, with the faith of a spiritual giant, proves faith true in one statement.  Jesus tells him to “Come!”  Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the surface of the water.  The great crescendo!  Peter does the physically impossible, just like the man who is fully divine.

“But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!'”  Matthew 14:30

The scratching of the vinyl against the needle.  Peter starts thinking too much and loses touch with the divine.  Satan gives it his best shot, roars the wind and Peter sinks.  He takes his eyes off of the Teacher, the One empowering him to defy the laws of physics, and allows doubt to blow into his mind.  ‘What if He really isn’t the Lord?  What if my faith isn’t strong enough?  What if I am supposed to be doing something to make this continue?  What if He changes His mind?  What if I’m not strong enough to continue this walk?  What made me think I can walk on water?’

“Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:31

You were almost there, Peter!  Your doubt, your reliance on your own abilities, your fear, Satan’s windy distraction–you lost your focus, Peter, and you doubted.  But, you had faith!  None of your comrades in the boat did.  They didn’t step onto the surface of the water like you did.  They didn’t walk toward the Teacher like you did.  They had no courage to prove belief true, but you did.  The Teacher gives you a lifeline; your faith resurges as He grabs hold of you and walks you back to the boat.  Satan loses his power over you and your mates, and the wind stops.  The Teacher didn’t let you sink.  He was never going to let you sink.

Do I believe He will never let me sink–sink into my own despair, sink into my doubt, sink into Satan’s distractions–when I step out in faith on the surface of the water?  When He calls out to me to leave my boat in the midst of a storm and walk on water to Him, do I believe He will keep His eye on me?  Do I believe He will lead me to where He wants me to go?  Do I believe it is wiser to leave my faithless mates behind and follow only Him?

Common sense tells me it is impossible to walk on water.  Faith tells me I must walk on the surface of the water to get to where Jesus wants me to be, at His side and safe in His embrace.  If I stay in the boat of self-reliance, straining at the oars with the wind blowing against me, I will never get to the place of spiritual safety He intends for me.  By my own strength, I am powerless against Satan’s wind.

When I am at a point in life when a spiritual storm is raging around me, threatening to take me under, only by walking toward the Teacher on the surface of the water do I find safety.  A step of faith followed by another on uncertain surfaces, ever looking at His face and seeking His guidance, focused on His ability to rescue me if I falter, with the courage of a young shepherd facing a giant–this is how I should walk through the storms of life.  But, I have to get out of the boat.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”  Proverbs 3:5-7

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.

White Lie

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,…”  Hebrews 12:1

The sin which so easily entangles us…

I made my commitment to Christ when I was fifteen.  That was just under forty years ago.  I have a lot of experience being a Christian, walking with God, discerning and avoiding sin.  And still, sin easily, much too easily, entangles me.  A white lie, just a teeny tiny one about something completely unimportant, of no real consequence except that the deception itself turns it into more than it ever should be.  My only calculation that accompanies the ruse is that it is easier to let the lie stand rather than correct it.

I hate deception in any form.  I hate being lied to, which is apparent in my “Liar, Liar” post.  I have difficulty interpreting others’ actions and discerning character from someone’s behavior.  Gullible, yes.  Naive, probably.  Way too trusting, definitely.  I need honesty from those around me to do well in this world.  Yet, even I fall into creating a falsehood from time to time.  It is rarely something of any importance.  Letting someone tell me something I already know and acting as if I am learning it for the first time.  Asking a question I already know the answer to.  Letting someone believe one thing is true when it is really something else that is true.

Some might call this being polite.  Some might say it is okay to reserve one’s point-of-view in the interest of keeping peace or going with the flow.  Some might say if it is nothing of significant consequence, then it is no big deal.  Some might say that some people can’t handle the truth and they need to be protected from it.

My conscience screams at me.  But, it is much better, I think, for me to keep the deception to myself.  ‘What someone doesn’t know can’t hurt them.’  Until the victim does find out, and I see the disappointment and betrayal in their face revealing a deep wound.  The offended may be able to maintain a perspective on the trivialness of the offense and not let it affect how they think of me.  The one I hurt may be able to forgive my lapse in judgment.  Or, they may not and I have damaged something precious to me.  My conscience screams some more.

What a dilemma I have wrought for myself!  If I confess to the one I offended, then they will know what I have done and I may have to face their disappointment anyway.  If I confess, I risk putting the one offended in the position of temptation to react harshly and in an unforgiving manner.  If I confess, I feel my own embarrassment at being ‘found out’, rendered as the fraud I really am.  If I confess, I feel my shame.  If I confess, I verify that I am weak and sometimes foolish.  If I keep it to myself, perhaps no one will ever know…except for me and God.

Here are the most difficult parts of my dilemma:  Confessing to God what I have done and begging for His forgiveness as I strive to repent.  Forgiving myself for causing a stir over something that was easily avoided.  Forgiving myself for treating someone I value highly as if they were unimportant to me.  Reconciling the person of integrity and honesty I want to be with the person who is entirely imperfect and grossly flawed.  On my knees I go to petition the only One who can completely absolve me of my sin.  And I work on forgiving myself.

I don’t know if the one I offended will be able to restore our relationship to its prior status.  I am tempted to think, “If I had just kept quiet, they would never know and things between us would be okay.  There would be no forgiveness needed, no known offense.”

I sometimes wonder how Bathsheba felt when she discovered David had ordered her husband’s death so that he could hide their sin and have Bathsheba for himself.  Perhaps she never knew, but I doubt that.  Royal palaces are hotbeds of gossip.  Joab, the commander of David’s army, knew David ordered Uriah’s murder.  (2 Samuel 11:14, 15)  How it must have strained the trust and love between them if Bathsheba even suspected what David did.  Given the depth of lament David expresses in Psalm 51, I tend to believe David confessed to her himself and begged her forgiveness.  David and Bathsheba suffered deeply for their indiscretion, losing the child which came from it.  Yet, David and Bathsheba eventually became the parents of Solomon who would become one of Israel’s greatest kings.  They must have worked things out between them.

Deception is usually discovered at some point.  Satan likes to play with us, let us think everything is okay because we keep quiet. Then he orchestrates the revealing and laughs heartily at us as we squirm and suffer the consequences of an extended deception.  I choose to confess, sooner rather than later, to steal from Satan the opportunity to wreak more havoc than I have already accomplished myself.  I choose to do all I can to make right a lapse in my honor, to repent, so that God can forgive me.  So that I can forgive myself for hurting someone I care about.  So that the one I offended can forgive me.

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.”  Psalm 51:1-3

Sin always brings consequences…destruction, death…even the sins I think I hide so well.  Sin of every kind, of any kind, separates me from God until I repent of it.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.”  Hebrews 10:26

There is no hiding from God.  To maintain a deception is to sin willfully.  The one I offend may never know.  But, God will.  And, I will.

All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.