We live in interesting times…though I think every generation would say the same thing about the times they lived in because what I am about to say has more to do with our nature than the times.
As human beings, we are “herdy” by nature.
By that I mean, we like the familiar; situations, people, things. Not always intentionally or consciously so, but generally we tend to be cautious with the unknown and the new.
Last week I got on Periscope and I was talking about boundaries within marriage.
(*Are we connected on Periscope yet? Follow me @nginaotiende, and let’s chat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am EST. Last Friday we started a 7 day devotional which I wrote earlier this year. We are looking at becoming better women and wives for God’s glory! You can watch older replays here).
So I got on Periscope and was talking about how God has a standard for marriage and it’s not okay to treat your spouse however you want and how to work towards health.
For a couple of hours my head was buzzing with ideas on how to make marriage healthy. And then God took me to a something I was praying about earlier before the Scope.
The verses are found in Mathew 14: 25-29
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 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.”
So this is an account of Jesus walking on water. And how Peter, upon seeing Him decided to join in! I’ve read that account and like most people, the thing that stands out the most is how Peter doubted and began to sink.
The greatest feat?
I don’t know why but we don’t always shout about how Peter was the only person, out of the 12 guys in that boat, that dared get out in the middle of a storm.
His biggest feat is not that he sank, but that he actually walked on water.
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God took me to this story because there’s a little storm that’s been blowing in my life (not marriage related) and I am questioning my decision to step out of the boat.
Often times when things get rough or look impossible, I default to asking myself if God really is with me.
Am I dreaming all this up, is God asking me to do this? Am I being rash, ambitious, overstepping my faith in what I can actually achieve? Maybe God wants me to sit back and do nothing and when He’s ready He will move and shake things for me?
As I was praying, it hit me: The idea to get out of that comfortable boat (comfortable is relative here because it had been storming for a long time and it was anything but comfortable) and step into the rough waters did not originate from Jesus, but from Peter.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.”
Jesus responded to Peter’s request and said “come”.
And here’s what I got from that – being brave has more to do with my desires, than the Lord’s desires. There’s stuff that God wants me to do, but it won’t get done until I step out in boldness. It’s not about the Lord’s desire, it’s about my obedience.
Peter decided he wanted to get on that water. You and I have to make bold decisions, in those crucial moments, and quit waiting on God to make the decisions on our behalf.
Because most of the time it’s not a matter of “does God want me to step out of the boat?”, it’s more of “Will I be obedient and bold enough to step out now?”
So often we think that if God wants us to be a strong couple, or to achieve something together, or to be healthy, He will come down himself and do it on our behalf.
But while God can do that (He could have carried Peter out of that boat Himself but He chose not to), He instead chooses to partner and work in us and through us.
It started with Peter asking, “Can I get on this water, Lord” and the Lord saying “Yup, come on” for Peter to get on the water.
Peter, the feisty impetuous man had the sense to ask the Lord instead of assuming the water would hold him!
So yes, we need seek God, to know that He sent us. But at some point, we’ll know; we’ll receive our marching orders, we’ll have the clarity we need.
And often it’s at that point that we miss it.
We’ll take God’s “yes” to mean “Stay right here and do nothing until God comes to pick me up and carry me to the exact place I should be”
And this is how it can look like in marriage;
“I know my husband is looking at porn but I will keep quiet because I don’t want to shame him by confronting him about it. I am praying and I know God will convict him and he will stop.”
“Our marriage is stale and drifting. But I will continue to believe for a spicy romantic relationship because God said he would bless us. I know He will show my husband what to do, all I need to do is pray”
“God has called me to start a ministry (or business e.t.c) but I will wait until I have enough money in our account and enough friends to support and believe in it”
Now lets look at #1 and break it down.
Absolutely, you must pray. But also recognize that God has already laid a standard for purity.
Pornography is sin. In other words, once God showed you his pornography use, that was his “come”, the same one He uttered to Peter.
It’s now your call, your move.
You can stay in the boat of passivity and fear and pride and timidity and shame. Or you look into the eyes of the One who bid you to step out to help restore health to your marriage and husband’s life.
You are God’s voice in your marriage. You are a Helpmate, not an enabler and you must rise up and play your role.*
Do you see what I mean? God’s “come” has to be answered by some intentional action from us. It’s like God takes one giant Daddy step towards us and He expects us to take one tiny baby step towards Him.
In life and marriage and beyond prayer, God will lay the standard. There’s nothing new to add on to it, nothing left on His side. What is left is the “yes and amen” from us and moving our feet.
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Walking-out His will
The disciples were stranded and struggling in the middle of that big fat storm, in the middle of a lake, because Jesus sent them on a trip.
They had a powerful time ministering to people earlier in the day and in the evening Jesus sent them ahead of him.
These guys were not on their own mission, rather they were doing what Jesus told them to do.
And we see that when they came upon hardship (which presented an opportunity for one of them to experience a personal miracle) Christ came and calmed the storm and they crossed over safely.
Again, circling back on being about God’s business. When you are faithful to do what God told you to do, don’t worry about the storms that come your way. He will take care of you.
Challenge for the week.
I want to leave you with a challenge, in form of questions this week
- Are you disappointed and hurt and wanting to give up because God has not shown up exactly the way you wanted Him to? Are you willing to explore your role in this “failure to manifest”, to see if you were waiting on God to lift you out of the boat?
- Is God challenging you to speak up and address an area of unhealth/sin in your marriage but you are held back by fear or pride? Who will you serve, you or Christ? (Galatians 1:10)
- What specific steps can you take today or this week to answer His “come”?
I hope these thoughts encourage you to step out boldly this week!
It might be storming now but He’s right in the water with you!