Stepping from fear to faith is never easy. Students and staff members at YWAM Tyler have had to do this often as they've followed Jesus to the ends of the earth. Honestly, every step involves a tremendous amount of trust, but God is worthy of our trust! He is faithful!
"Take courage. I AM here."
It never fails; when I hear the word courage, I immediately think of the movie Princess Diaries. It's a cheesy predictable movie, but there's a quote from it I can't seem to shake, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all."
It took courage for Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water. Just seconds before, the disciples were terrified at the thought of a ghost walking towards them. Then Jesus spoke, "Don't be afraid; Take courage." I find this word-choice interesting. Jesus didn't say be courageous. He beckoned them to "Take courage."
- Take ~ lay hold of (something) with one's hands; reach for and hold.
In essence Jesus asked the disciples to lay aside their fear and lay hold of courage. Then Jesus declared the reason why they should embrace courage in that moment: I AM HERE. "I AM" ~ the same words spoken to Moses:
"God replied to Moses, I AM WHO I AM.
Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you"
I AM makes it possible to lay aside fear and lay hold of courage. Moses could lead the Israelites and face Pharaoh because I AM had sent him. Peter could step out of the boat in the midst of the storm because I AM beckoned him to come. Trusting I AM, the eternal God who is always present, enables us to take courage!
I'm not a naturally courageous person. I don't live on the edge, dreaming of ways to risk. Once my husband thought it would be funny to step on the gas pedal and drive dangerously close to the edge of a winding road that didn't have a guardrail and dropped straight down a mountain. I immediately started shouting at him. As tears rolled down my eyes, I emphatically told him to never do that again.
I like boundary lines and guardrails. If something resembles any realm of risk, I will always choose the safer side. The very fact that Peter actually stepped out of the boat amazes me. Waves are crashing against the vessel. His fellow boat mates think a ghost is approaching them. Yet, when Jesus called, Peter didn't hesitate. With eyes fixed on his Master, Peter stepped onto the water. Yes, I know, it didn't take long for Peter to start sinking once he began to look at the storm around him, but the very fact he took that first courageous step out of the boat really speaks to my heart today.
Courage isn't the absence of fear. It's believing there's something more important than fear itself. If Peter had let fear hold him back in the boat, he would have never encountered Jesus on the water ~ the walking on it and the being lifted out of it. Both were monumental in Peter's journey. Jesus is greater than our circumstances and able to do immeasurably more than we could ever dream, but in order for us to discover the immeasurably more, we are going to have to get out of the boat! Like Peter, I want to take courage and get out of the boat!
Can you hear Jesus calling you too?
Come to Me, __________(insert your name). Together, we can do this. Don't look at the storm around you. Don't worry about there being no guardrails. Don't hold back; I will strengthen you. Take courage; I AM here. I'll make your way perfect. I'll give you My shield of victory. You're ready for this battle because My right hand supports you. In Me, you will overcome. (Read Psalm 18 😉)
Don't let fear hold you back from doing a Discipleship Training School! Apply today!!! We have a school starting soon!!