Yesterday in Children’s Church we sang Oceans by Hillsong United. It is a very popular song and the students truly worshiped throughout the song. It was a beautiful atmosphere.
God has used this song to speak to me on more than one occasion.
In December of 2014, God called me to Enon (For those who may not know, Enon is a church about 45 minutes from where I was serving at the time). I was worshipping in Children’s Ministry one Sunday and a song was playing which spoke about going were God wanted. I remember saying to God. I truly want to go wherever you want me. Now most of the time when we pray this prayer, we are thinking world-wide travels. A proclamation to our Father daring Him to send us to the uttermost parts of the world, a fired up faith ready to traipse through the darkest jungles, scale the highest mountains, and cross the loneliest deserts to broadcast the Good News of Jesus. I declare to God, “I truly want to go wherever you want me.” God’s response, “Even to Enon?” Enon Africa? Enon South America? Is there an Enon in China? Of course I kid, I knew exactly were God meant and my response, “Even to Enon.” I know it doesn’t sound like a very large leap of faith, but my declaration to go wherever was genuine and so was my response, so off to Enon I went. This may seem very anticlimactic, but bear with me, the story is just getting started.
I have thought about that moment several times throughout the past year (Wow it has been over a year already since God called me here) but I could never remember the song. I could recollect the moment, the experience, but the song escaped me, until this past Sunday. I was listening to the song Oceans prior to service, I had worked over night that night (I work at a group home) and it had been a slightly challenging shift and I was attempting clear my mind so I could focus on ministry. While I was singing “Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.” Everything from that event which occurred in December of 2014 came flooding back and I said, “This is the song! This was the line!” I found myself encouraged to be reminded I am where God called me.
But wait there is more!
The song continued to resonate with me and I began to think of the scriptures which inspired the writing of the song. I went to Matthew 14:22-33 and read the account of Peter walking on the water. In this story, it is really late at night or very early in the morning, depends on how you view the 3:00am-6:00am hour and these poor guys have been up throughout the night battling this storm, they are unable to reach land because the winds are so strong and the waves are carrying them far from their destination, they are exhausted and weary. They may even feel abandoned by Jesus, wondering why He seems to be there for everyone else, but nowhere to be found when they are in need. On top of all this, they are now seeing ghosts!
I am sure we have all felt this way at some point in our lives. We wonder if it can get worse and it does. We may even feel this way after great miracles have occurred in our lives (remember this boat trip was right after Jesus fed the 5,000 and the disciples were a part of that).
They soon discover this ghost is actually Jesus and He calls out and encourages them not to be afraid. Peter, being Peter, says, “Hey Jesus, if that is really you, tell me to come out to you.” Jesus replies, “Come on.” (In the Vanessa version of this I see “Jesus I will go wherever you want me to go.” Jesus replies “Even to Enon”)
So Peter steps out and begins to walk on the water. He is legit chillin’ on top of the waves. Dude is defying the very laws of nature, but then something happens. Peter sees the effects of the wind. He feels the winds’ strength and the overwhelming waves created by the squall and he begins to sink beneath them. Peter calls out “LORD SAVE ME” and Jesus reaches down and rescues him. Then Jesus says to Peter, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Time out Jesus! He did have enough faith to believe you would save him. If he had doubted You, wouldn’t he have called out to one of his peers in the boat, “James help me. “Matthew, throw me a line.” But he didn’t, he said, “Lord save me.” Come on, doesn’t that count for something? Then I felt the Holy Spirit impressed upon me, Peter trusted Jesus to save Him from the waves, but he lacked the faith to believe Jesus would see him through the waves.
God has called us to walk through the storm, not to be swallowed up by it. So many times we face storms in our lives and we call out to Jesus and say “Jesus save me.” But the storm was never designed to drown Peter, it was created to take him deeper in faith, to move him to a place where he could trust without borders. Can you imagine the depths of faith we would reach if when storms arose, despite the wind smacking us in the face and waves grasping at our feet, we walked on. Imagine the borders and boundaries which would be removed from our lives if instead of calling out and asking Jesus to save us from the storm, we thank Him for walking with us through it.
We sing the song and we say the words, but if we truly want to be in a place where our trust is without borders, and our faith is made stronger, then we have to be willing to walk through the storm and not be saved from it.
Maybe you feel you have been walking through a storm and you wonder when it will end. Take heart, the storm will not last forever, focus not on the waves, but on the borders being removed from your life, the depths to which God is taking you in your faith in Him. Do not grow weary in the last hour, you will reach the boat, and those who watched you walk through the storm will be encouraged and God will be glorified.
How is that for a climatic ending? Only this is not the ending, it is the beginning, the beginning of a life where there are no borders in what we believe God can do, the beginning of a relationship with God where our faith is so strong, no storm can shake us, no wind can break us, and no wave can swallow us.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.