Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Are you ready to give up? Throw the proverbial towel in or at least at someone? Have you had enough? Are you fed up? Tuckered out? Done! Poke me with a fork and turn off the oven kind of done and over it. Get the picture? Like a wet rag wrung out until it is almost dry, I need the Lord. Maybe this is where we were headed all along. To that place where faith led by fear becomes fearless faith because change must occur and the only solution is Jesus. Is it the right time to swing my legs over the side and jump ship? I am not a quitter. It is not in my nature – physical, emotional or spiritual. But that same never-give-up attitude comes with a tenacity born of stubbornness that needs discipline and guidance to make the right choices at the right time. Timing is everything and faith is the only relevant factor when faced with such a challenge. I am tired of this season that I am in. I am dry, thirsty and desperate for change. Is it the right time? Is the harvest near?
Matthew 14:28-31 (NLT)
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
In the midst of a storm, it is not uncommon for those who call themselves Christians and even those who don’t have a clue to seek the Lord. When the trials of life reach beyond human comprehension requiring divine intervention, people cry out in a last ditch effort at salvation not from Judgment but their current situation or the fear that they have reached the end of life as they know it and decide that they want it back. Peter walked with Jesus every day. They lived together in close proximity. He was constantly under the guidance and teaching of the Lord. He didn’t have to read the Bible. He lived it, breathed it and even wrote portions of it. Peter told the Lord, “If it is really you…” He left the boat that he was in because he feared that it would not be safe in the storm. Peter did not have faith but left his circumstances to pursue it. When he saw the big waves, felt the pounding wind, and was pelted by the stinging rain – he found that his fear was bigger than his faith and so Peter began to sink in the water. Jesus asked him, “Why do you doubt me?” Life is filled with things that test our faith every day. There is purpose and meaning in these trials as the Lord prepares us to harvest the many blessings born of true and genuine faith. Peter was still focused on his surroundings and not His Savior. He didn’t believe in the God and His Power more than his perception and position in this life. So when Peter jumped ship the first time – he sank. Peter jumped out of the boat because he was afraid. Jesus wanted his disciple to stay in the boat because he had faith!
John 21:3-7 (NLT)
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.
We meet up with Peter later in the water again this time back to his old life of fishing. Jesus had been crucified. This was not the ending that Peter and the other men had anticipated. How many times in life do things not turn out as we expected even when we are honestly trying to live a good life and follow Christ? I will be first to raise my hand and confess that I never expected our life to turn out like this. God has made a beautiful family out of a disjointed mess. He has formed a strong union between a man and woman that can only be of Him. So how does the fact our son was stricken and fights something as horrible as cancer? How does that fit in with His Plan? Then there is the war zone called my job as my co-workers and I struggle to dodge bullets and bombs not meant for us but clearly make us collateral damage in a war between two men. We must take the good with the bad. I know that. My soul cries out in the midst of it all – “Blessed be the Name of the Lord!” Peter did the only thing that he knew to do which was fishing. He fished all night and caught nothing. How would he make it without Jesus? He had given up everything to take up his cross and follow Christ. When Jesus called out to the men from the beach, they immediately obeyed. In that moment, Peter knew it was Jesus. He did not ask to walk on water, leave the boat or even if it was really the Lord. Peter knew. He jumped ship and swam all the way to shore. He made it. His faith was now fearless. He knew the Lord. He wanted Jesus more than anything leaving behind the catch of a lifetime for the chance of a lifetime. Am I ready to follow Peter to the shore?
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
“All to Jesus I surrender; all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His Presence daily live.” (I Surrender All by Judson W. Van DeVenter) I remember singing this song in church first with my grandmother and then as a young person. We don’t sing it much in church anymore. The old hymnals removed and new songs sung with lyrics on a fancy screen in the sanctuary. Simple songs that mean so much. I didn’t really know what I was saying back then just that it felt right inside my heart and soul. Now I know what I am asking the Lord to do in me, and just how much is required. I am tired today. I am weary of this walk that we have been on. I know that God loves me. I believe that He is always good. This walk with Christ is filled with peaks and valleys that all lead to “harvests of blessing if we do not give up”! Faith is the only requirement but the most difficult acquisition. But it is the burdens that were not meant for us that weight us down in life. The winds of the storm or waves of the sea cannot do me in if I surrender all to Jesus. Making Him the highest priority of my life allows me to face such adversity and animosity in life and make it safely through to the shore by faith. Faith that asks who He is cannot carry me all the way. It is the kind of faith that knows who He is and will do whatever it takes to get to Him that makes it to the other side. I want that kind of faith. As I look at the water, I see Jesus on the shore. The storm around me rages, the wind tries to knock me off my feet, and the rain is blinding but my faith is intact and focused on the One who loves me most and loves me best. Is it time to jump ship Lord? Am I a ready? Is that which You have prepared ready yet? These are the questions that I am asking myself today. Just because you may be tired of your situation and ready for a change is not necessarily a good reason to get your feet wet. But when Jesus completes His Work our faith can get us to where He is by His Grace we are saved by faith. Jesus completed His Work on the Cross. Now He is completing His Work in us. We may not understand the process but that doesn’t mean that we are not a work in progress. Hang on. Watch the shoreline. Is He there yet? When everything is ready. The Lord will let you know that it is time to jump and this time you will make it to the other side.
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
When Jesus died, He went to fight for our freedom and won. When He reappeared to the disciples, everything was now ready. I think that sometimes in the midst of the storms of life when we cannot see the Lord or hear His Voice – it is because He is not done with His Work and our faith is not ready to make it to the shore. If we see Him or hear Him in our desperate need for change – we may try to make the journey too soon and not fully equipped. So the Lord waits until everything is ready for our successful passage to make Himself evident again. He does this to help us. He does this because He loves us. Jesus wants us to make it. He loves us and cannot imagine life without us. He wants to give us everything that He promised and we have to have faith to get it. God is always working every detail of our life for good even when we would be willing to settle for so much less just to escape our circumstances or change our situation. Those who trust the Lord find new strength. Thank you Lord! I needed that reminder today as I wait on results from our son’s MRI of his hip. Thank you for wisdom in the situation that I am facing at work today with yet another false accusation being hurled at my co-workers and I with no one to defend us. Today will be a day of walking by faith not by sight. My person does not want to go but My Spirit says, “You can do it! Just one more day, the Lord is readying you for safe passage and to transition you from this Valley of Weeping into a place of refreshing springs and abundant blessing. (Psalm 84:6) I am ready to jump ship. I will wait until I know that He has completed His Work in me to go. Until then, I will not be weary in well doing but seek to surrender all!
Hebrews 12:10-13 (NLT)
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.