Don’t you feel like you are almost to the end of a very long tunnel?
It’s been a tough journey, but we expect it will be lighter, warmer, and easier very soon.
Texas had a week of Snowmageddon and the next week it was spring. Now, there are early flowers blooming and patches of green.
It feels like the year of the virus is mostly in the rearview mirror. There are still reasons to be careful, but it just seems like it is time to move forward with joy.
There are a lot of people discussing their need to shape up for this new season. There are articles about diet, exercise, meditation, and makeovers. QVC had their spring fashion day and, I have to confess, I have a few packages scheduled to arrive. The comfy clothes from this past year need to be packed up and donated. In fact, a few things just need to be tossed!
That’s true of our closets and our lives.
UPPING OUR GAME
I think it has been interesting to hear people talk about what the year of COVID has done to their relationship with God. It is almost always one of two conversations.
Some talk about the fact they haven’t been in church and have drifted from God. Many just haven’t been as dedicated to read and study their Bibles as they were before.
Another group talks about this past year providing extra time to read, pray, and think about God. The year of difficulty has stretched them spiritually and they have grown stronger as a result.
No matter where we are in our spiritual journey today, we haven’t yet arrived.
If the year of COVID made your faith stronger, is it because you chose to do something new in your spiritual life?
What did you learn that you want to continue to learn?
LITTLE FAITH CAN GROW
Everyone knows the story from Matthew as Peter walked on the water toward Jesus.
Peter has been the illustration for many sermons because he took his eyes off of Jesus and sank. But we can look at it another way too: Peter was the only one in the boat who walked on the water.
He could have kept walking if his focus had remained steadfast on Jesus, but, let’s give the apostle some credit. He is the only one who asked for the opportunity to get out of the boat!
Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter when he started to sink, saying, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). I wonder if Jesus felt proud of Peter for taking those first steps.
We usually look at those moments in Scripture as Peter not having enough faith. But, maybe we should think about the fact that he had faith, albeit small. And look what Peter’s faith grew to become later in his life. Peter exercised his faith by doing something new: walking on water!
What new thing might Jesus allow you to do if you simply ask?
Is there a new commitment your church needs you to make as things reopen and people return to worship?
Is there a new Bible study you are supposed to attend or maybe teach?
Has your faith grown to a place that you can step out of the boat and walk where you never imagined walking before?
Jesus and Peter would cheer you on!
The boat is safe, but it can also be a missed opportunity.
LITTLE FAITH OR BIG FAITH, THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM TO GROW
One of the most difficult things about growing older is I can only do most things I used to do. I can still get out of the boat; it just might take a little longer to do it. But, I never want to stop trying or learning to do something new.
The older I get and the more I study, the less I know. I recently spent a morning working in my husband’s office. I looked around at his library of eight thousand books. (No, I’m not kidding!) All of those books have something to do with our faith. And those are just a small fraction of the books that exist on the subject.
I thought about King Solomon’s wisdom when he said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). I will never learn enough, know enough, or teach enough Bible.
There is no end to growing in the knowledge of God until we know him face-to-face.
ONE YEAR LATER
All of us changed a bit this past year. Let’s make sure we keep changing next year too. It’s time to exit the tunnel and get back to normal. But we should choose to live a little less normally than before.
Paul prayed for the church in Colossae, asking God that the people would be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9–10). I think Paul would pray that prayer for all of us, especially now.
There are a lot of things to remember about the past year, and there are some things to just forget. But, in many ways, the past year was like getting out of the boat to walk on water. It was new. It was scary. But, Jesus was there every day.
There were times of little faith, for sure.
But this past year we also discovered some new spiritual muscles.
Let’s keep them strong.
Peter displayed his little faith again on the night the rooster crowed three times. But, the greatest crisis of his life would later become his great joy. The stone was rolled away, and the same Jesus who reached out to Peter from the boat stood in front of him again. It’s comforting to know that Peter’s little faith eventually grew to an enormous faith in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
Like Peter, we all have moments of little faith. Thankfully, we have a God who is always more focused on where our journey is going than where we have been.
Is it time to up your game and get out of the boat?
God has a plan to use our moments of little faith to make us stronger. In fact, he plans for our faith to be completely perfected one day.
The resurrection still changes everything, and it always will—especially for those who get out of the boat and walk with Jesus.