Take a Walk on the Wild Side with Jenny B. Jones
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14: 27-31
Do you strive for safety and security? Don’t we all. But God never commanded us to be safe.
While writing the romance novel Just Between You and Me, I immersed myself in my Bible, studying the topic of fear, the central theme of my novel. It was ironic and laughable to me, because I was and am the poster child for fear. I fear rejection, success, heights, strangers, choking while alone, being asked about the conflict in the Middle East, skinny jeans and green peas. So much of my life has been dedicated to playing it safe.
While studying for this book, I kept going back to the Bible where Jesus would find his disciples in a state of fear. In Matthew 14, the disciples are in the boat, the winds are going crazy and walking across the water is this dark figure in the night. Peter takes the lead and tells the figure if He is Jesus, then call him out with him on the water. Did Peter even know what he was asking for? You want to walk on water? In a storm?
Jesus does indeed call out to his friend, and things are going well. Until. . .Peter takes his eyes off his Savior and focuses on the wind. The wind that’s tossing the boat, making the night scary and no doubt whipping through his hair and clothes. How could you not notice the wind?
The second Peter takes his focus off Jesus, down he goes.
I’m so thankful for the rest of that verse that tells me that Peter didn’t plunge straight down and become fish food. He didn’t even have to dog paddle against the waves and struggle his way back up. Jesus reaches out his hand, asks, “Why did you even doubt me?” and lifts him to safety. They get out of the boat, and the winds don’t just simmer down. They stop completely. Isn’t that like our God?
So many focus on Peter’s lack of faith when discussing this chapter. I always notice how cool the guy is just for getting out of the boat. Let’s be honest. I wouldn’t. Would you? I like safety. I like security. I’m the girl who double checks her locks before going to bed. I’m the neurotic who has a routine of eyeballing my stove and iron as I head out for work—whether I used them or not. Safety is comfort. Security is what lulls me to sleep at night. But. . .what am I missing by playing it safe? What are you missing by not climbing out of the boat onto the waves?
God has gigantic plans for us. In Jeremiah he tells us that he has plans to prosper us, not to hurt us. Yet, how often do my rules and sense of control get in the way? What about you? Would you have taken on the giant if you had been a young David? Would you have climbed into the fiery furnace with faith if you had been Shadrach? (Me? I would’ve been snot-crying in a squealing heap on the floor.) And I have a feeling if we had been Peter on the water that night, many of us not only would have sunk as well, but we wouldn’t have gotten out of the boat in the first place.
The Bible is full of these amazing moments that required blind faith—faith in something unseen that simply defied logic and did not make sense. Yet moments where if that challenged child of God had let his or her fears rule, would’ve turned out so much differently. So much. . .less.
After reading the book Beyond Jabez, my idea of bold faith was radically shaken. Changed. I decided God didn’t want me playing it safe anymore. I had long held onto a dream of being a writer but really hadn’t done anything about it beyond wishing. Wishing is safe. And tidy. So tidy, almost no one on the planet even knew I wanted to be a writer—that in fact, I had dreamed of it my whole life. I had prayed a lot about it—but hadn’t given my desire feet. Hadn’t made it a verb. Had barely even written.
After reading Bruce Wilkinson’s book, God really spoke to me. I was so burdened with the idea that living small, denying my big dreams was like saying to God, “I don’t believe you’re going to take care of me. I don’t believe you can whip up anything big for my life.” I wasn’t trusting God with all my life. I was the one in control. And frankly, it was boring me.
In 2005, I had my David and Goliath moment. I went out to meet my giant, and with gigantic faith—probably for the first time in my life—God rewarded me with a victory.
It’s a long God-story, but the conference I attended changed my life.
I knew, I just knew God was going to do what I began to call “the amazing.” I went to this conference expecting great things. And I think that is what made all the difference. Much like David and his Goliath. He went in knowing the battle was his. Knowing all he needed was God. He put his fears aside, and picked up one perfect stone.
What are you dreaming of today? Or maybe the last decade? Perhaps all your life? Like me, are you hiding behind safety? Are you living in your comfort zone? Don’t you want to be thriving? What is God asking you to do today? What dreams have lingered with you that won’t leave you alone? Take your eyes off the raging waters, off all the logical reasons why not, and reach out your hand and slip it into God’s. He’s been waiting for you. He says, “Have courage. It’s me. Don’t be afraid. I’ve got you, kid. I’ve got you.”
Now you just have to meet him there.
Award-winning author Jenny B. Jones writes romantic comedies for teens and women. Some of her books include A Charmed Life series and Save the Date. When she’s not wiling away the hours at the keyboard (translation: checking Facebook), she is imparting wisdom and joy to high schoolers as a teacher. She lives in Arkansas where she avoids housework, communes with the Ozarks, and eats more than her share of Fruity Pebbles. You can visit her atwww.jennybjones.com.