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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Focus Your Trust

In Matthew 14, there is a recollection of Jesus walking on water in the midst of a storm while His disciples are in a boat. They see Him and are terrified, thinking He is a ghost, and so He tells them "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." They are still skeptical though, and probably completely freaked out because they see someone literally walking on the water, and so Peter speaks up and basically says, "prove it... make me walk on the water too." Bold right? I like to believe that Peter was thinking "Maybe a ghost could possibly walk on the water and seem like Jesus, but only Jesus Himself had enough power to make someone else do the impossible" (Side note: Jesus has enough power to make you do the impossible).

After Peter makes his request, Jesus answers Him saying, "Come." So what does Peter do? He gets out of the boat and he walks on the water towards Jesus. Amazing. But then what happens? Peter looks around him, and he sees the wind causing great waves, and he probably feels the wind pushing against him, and probably hears the waves crashing powerfully upon each other, and so he becomes afraid and starts sinking (Don't worry, Jesus saves him). Peter walked on the water for as long as he trusted Jesus to hold him up.

He trusted in Jesus... until he trusted in his surroundings more. He trusted in his situation, which looked terrifying, more than he trusted in Jesus' power over it.

You see, what you focus on is important. Peter focused on the winds and the waves, which caused him to become afraid of their power. He could have focused on the fact that Jesus made him to literally walk on water, and that His power was obviously enough, but he focused instead on how terrifying everything around him seemed. Peter had a choice, focus on Jesus or focus on the situation. He chose the latter and it caused him to fear and begin sinking.

It's not always easy to choose what we focus on, especially when the storms we face seem so loud. I can imagine the wind would have been really loud for Peter. He might have even been getting wet from the spray of the water. Naturally, that would draw anyone's attention. But so should the power of Jesus. So should the miracle of what was happening. Too often I think we're like Peter in this way. We let what is around us distract us from the work of Jesus. We let the storm seem more powerful than Him. I mean, Peter was literally doing the impossible, and yet, he couldn't focus on that because he was too focused on the wind and waves. Stop focusing on the winds and the waves in your life. Stop focusing on the doubt. Stop focusing on the fear. Stop focusing on the situation. These things are distracting you and stopping you from doing all that God has called you to. You can acknowledge them, but then make sure you turn your focus to Jesus and His power over them. Keep your eyes fixed on Him, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2).

How often have we witnessed God do the impossible and miraculous in our lives, and yet when another situation comes up, we give into fear and trust in our situation more than Him? Too often. Don't be disheartened though, Peter was literally in the midst of a miracle and he still gave into fear and doubt, but thankfully, God still used Him in a mighty way. Don't get into condemnation if you've found yourself giving into fear and doubt. Rather, call out to Jesus and trust in His grace and power. Trust that He reaches His hand out toward you. And then next time you're in a difficult circumstance, just try to focus on Him.

I think we get so caught up sometimes in our expectations of how God should help us, that when those expectations do not happen, we become afraid and we doubt God's power and goodness through it. If we go back to Peter, when he was sinking, he called out to Jesus who, "immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to Him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' (Verse 31)." Even in Peter's doubt, Jesus still rescued him. It's the next verse that I want to focus on though. It says, "And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased (Verse 32)." You see, Jesus reached out His hand and kept Peter from sinking, but then Peter still had to walk back to the boat with Jesus in the same wind and waves that scared him. It says the wind and waves stopped when they had gotten back in the boat, not when Jesus reached out His hand and saved Him. I'm sure Peter would have liked the wind and waves to stop, but they didn't, so he needed to focus on walking back to the boat with Jesus.

I think we expect God to just save us from our situations by stopping/preventing what is happening to us. And sometimes He does, which is amazing, but sometimes He doesn't, and so we need to learn that even if He doesn't, He's still amazing and He's still there with us. He will not leave you or forsake you. He is right there reaching out His hand, keeping you from sinking. So trust Him, and walk through the wind and the waves with Him, trusting the strength of His hand as it holds onto you.

I know it is hard when you don't receive the exact thing you are praying for, but continue to trust Him anyway. Trust His faithfulness and goodness towards you. Trust that He will walk through it with you, if it doesn't get taken away. Surrender to a trust in Him that surpasses all your circumstances. Trust in him with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding of what is happening (Prov. 3:5). Believe me when I say, He is worth trusting.

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