Get Out of the Boat

Are you struggling to keep your head above water?

I remember, as a little girl, my dad taking us fishing. I loved to fish, but mostly I just liked throwing the worm in the water and reeling him back in. Dad would bait my hook with a big, fat, juicy worm and tell me to keep my eye on the bobber. You know, the red and white round thing that gets pulled under water when a fish nibbles at your worm.

In our scripture text, Matthew 14:22-36, we see Peter and the disciples struggling to cross the lake on a stormy night. Fatigue sets in, and out in the distance they see a ghostlike shadow coming toward them. The shadow calls out to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter recognized the voice as that of Jesus and asks to come meet Him. For a brief moment Peter was able to walk on water.

Peter believed in the impossible. He believed he could walk on water because of his faith in Jesus. But Peter did what we all do when we become fearful. He panicked. He feels the cold wind hitting his cold, aching, and tired body. He hears the waves and the water crashing around him and he begins to sink. What happened? Peter took his eyes off of Jesus. And when we take our eyes off Him, we lose our focus. We sink. And we cry out for Jesus to save us.

Peter looked at Jesus and cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus stretched out His hand and firmly pulled him out of the cold, rough water waters and replied, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” For God to rescue us, we first have to get out the boat. Peter did what he thought was impossible while the other disciples let fear keep keep them from experiencing a miracle.

It wasn’t so long ago that I let my emotions overtake my thoughts, and for a brief moment fear had me in it’s grip.  The date was April 26, 2017. Exactly 21 days after being diagnosed with cancer and nine days after my first chemo treatment. Below is an excerpt from my cancer journal on what I was feeling that day.

“I’d like to think I’ve handled things pretty good. I’ve been upbeat and not worried. Been a real “trooper,” Dr. Allendorf would say. But today I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw in the towel and let the cancer win. The problem wasn’t even the cancer itself, just the side effects. I wanted to cry, and I told Britney (my sister) I wanted to go to the hospital and stay. This was the first time I wanted to quit. It was the worst pain ever.”

During my cancer journey I wanted to quit. This was the one and only time I gave up without a fight. I remember telling God I couldn’t do this anymore and to just take me. But God had other plans for me instead. He gave me the strength, courage, and peace and everything I needed to come out on the other side, victorious against cancer. I wouldn’t be here today sharing with you my biggest storm if it weren’t for Him.

Do you feel like a bobber on the end of a fishing line being pulled under by finances, relationships, or illness? Do you feel like you are going under for the last time? Have the courage to cry out to Jesus. He will rescue you wherever you are. He is in control!

             Peter was a fisherman, but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men.

                        If God can use a fisherman, He can certainly use me!

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It wasn’t easy and at times she wanted to throw in the towel and let cancer win. But God had other plans for Tonya and she is back sharing her incredible testimony of courage, strength, and faith. Reminding us that we are never alone. God is with us always.  Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.

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