The journey of missions is one constant “Step out of the boat” moment.
Peter hearing the voice of Jesus and deciding to step out of the boat. Peter obeying the call to leave a safe place and go while the storm raged around him. Peter needing Jesus to save him as he sinks in the waves… Those types of moments.
Sharing life with you from behind the prayer card must include these moments. Our journey overseas is full of decisions to day after day step out of the boat. Our journey includes moments of sinking, moments of looking at the waves surrounding us and feeling the hands of Jesus pull us back up from the murkiness below.
I remember when we were 5 weeks away from moving out of our house in Ohio and first truly feeling like we were stepping out of the boat.
That was when the “Are we CRAZY???” feeling really set in. When I thought to myself, “What on earth are we doing with three kids moving out of our house on faith that the budget will come in so we can get to language school?”
So much prayer covered those weeks…
I remember when we were just a few weeks away from flying to France and I was coming to grips with leaving our country, our family, our support system, our friends, and our lives as we knew them. When I realized that nothing, nothing, would ever be the same again.
I remember when we were finishing language school and I realized that we actually were going to land in Africa and stay there for a long time. With a one way ticket… When I came to the end of myself and completely threw myself on the waves, the boat seemingly long gone. Seeing myself in this very real and ugly process of daily obedience, new trust and growing faith.
Stepping out of the boat is insanely scary, completely wild and fully intense. Every single moment means holding your breath, trust falling into faith and believing that God has each step under His full control.
How does one do that? How do you step out of the boat?
I guess the answer is that when you are walking in faith, you are choosing to walk in supernatural power from the King of Heaven. You are walking in the full knowledge that the Mighty One is actively part of the process. You trust that He is on the water with you.
For me, I must daily believe that He is giving me the strength to do this.
I must be encouraged through his comfort, his word and his people.
I must be willing to step out of the boat regardless of the waves, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of what seems stacked against us.
Because, stepping out of the boat in our earthly strength is absolutely impossible. You WILL sink.
But… with God. Only with God is walking on water possible.
We are often asked a myriad of questions.
“What is it like moving away from home?”
“What does it feel like to be in the process you are in right now?”
“What does it feel like to sell everything and move with nothing?”
“What is it like living in culture shock and daily unknowns?”
It feels like a step out of the boat.
It feels like Peter walking on water.
Looking at Jesus and watching him beckoning us to come to him.
To step out of the boat into the vast nothingness of the ocean surrounding us.
To step out of the boat in faith that Jesus really is there to hold us up.
To step out of the boat with nothing but that faith and the truest desire to obey.
I remember at the beginning of our process and starting to get our house ready for that first garage sale. I sat in our room looking at our clothes thinking, “How do you sort everything so that all you have left fits in some suitcases?” The process of sorting… deciding what do we keep and what do we sell. What is worth storing? What has meaning enough to keep for years in a box? Slowly realizing that our attachment to earthly things is nearly gone.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus and knowing…
We have each other.
We have our calling.
We have our dream of reaching kids for Christ.
We have very little left to hang on to but our families and friends.
We are stepping out of the boat. Daily.
I don’t think I can even adequately describe the feelings that come with living a lifestyle of walking on water.
A big mixture of fear, faith, hope, trust and a small measure of crazy. Balancing the guilt of sometimes sinking in the overwhelming complications of living overseas with the measured joys of small successes, small steps forward with our eyes firmly planted on the One who called us.
Life is often upside down, full of waves and dark skies.
The water and the wind is terrifying.
The act of faith is exhilarating.
And I now know, without a doubt, that Jesus is there.
Out on the water with us. Pulling us up. Keeping us afloat. Teaching us to keep our eyes on His face only.
Have you ever felt like you were stepping out of the boat? What is one moment that you remember specifically?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – H. Jackson Brown’s mother