Mead Minutes: Are you a water walker?
traditional paraw sailing boats on white beach on boracay island in the philippines
Good morning from the Meads! Last night we had rain, bringing relief to the thirsty ground. I love to hear the rain on the roof. The music of nature can be soothing as you sit comfortably dry. When I lived in the northern US, I also loved to watch the snow fall as I sipped a warm drink comfortably wrapped in my “spider web” quilt. Walking in the rain or snow is a special treat as long as the wind remains calm. Puddle stomping is a favorite Mead family pastime, as is mud sliding. The extremes of any of the natural elements moves you quickly from a smiling, soothing comfort to an anxious seeking of a place of refuge. Life is often like that, isn’t it? We tolerate the middle ground well, but the extremes lead us to boredom or fear.
Living life as a missionary, as an adventure, pushes against that comfortable middle ground of self-sufficiency all the time. Just as you become comfortable with the “routine,” new challenges are given. You are called to step out into unfamiliar circumstances once again. Does it get easier as life proceeds? Not usually, I find. Should I just refuse the opportunities when I know I am the one called? I could; I do have a choice. Then you run the risk of sliding down the slope toward boredom. You will miss out on the life that could be and be left with the “if only” regrets. I do not seek that, either, no matter what the cost.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Peter walking on water. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and asked if he, too, could walk. Could you imagine? Some of the disciples were fishermen used to the rough water but still scared by the waves and wind. Peter, being a bold kind of guy, asked a bold, some would say foolish, question.“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” If you were huddled down in the boat just wishing you would arrive safely, what would you think or say? “Are you nuts?” “You will drown.” “Who will care for your family?” “That Peter has always been a wacko!”
I imagine most shook their heads as Peter gingerly climbed over the side. The boat was rising and falling on the waves. The wind was blowing. Peter got out. Peter kept his eyes focused on Christ and walked. Imagine some of the shouts. “Watch out for the waves!” “Get back here!” Peter walked. Then suddenly, Peter lost focus. The perils around him grew in his eyes, and Peter started to sink. “I told you so,” came the shouts from the safety of the boat. But God controls the wind and the waves and restored Peter. Once again, totally focused, Peter returned to the boat walking on the water, walking with Jesus. Peter returns to the boat and sits down. Amazing! Now fast forward some time. You are at dinner with friends. “Hey Peter! What is it like to walk on water?” “What did you think when you started to sink?” Others who had been in the boat probably grumbled, “I could have walked on the water!” But they did not. They remained in the comfort and security of the boat. They missed out.
Was Peter perfect? Nope. Was there a time he was failing? Yes. Did Peter have experience as a “water walker” that he drew upon to justify his request? Hardly. Peter stepped out boldly, keeping his focus on the true power and control of his life. There are many “water walkers” in history. They are those people who heard the call and, rather than sitting comfortably in their own security, stepped out.
Abraham went from the security of family, land, and wealth to go! Abraham was called! Where? Abraham had no clue, but he went. A desert water walker!
Mother Teresa left the comfort and security of a convent to move into the slums. A water walker.
Martin Luther King lived the racial injustice in America and, rather than sitting back complaining or merely preaching a few sermons safely from his pulpit, stepped up. Pastor King boldly stepped out facing derision, dangers, and finally death. A water walker.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, stepped up to oppose the lies and abuse of Nazi Germany and its effect on the church and its people. Bonhoeffer faced opposition with courage. Evil cannot tolerate the light of truth. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and executed. A water walker.
Bill Hybels was leading a megachurch called Willow Creek in the Chicago area. Hybels was already a water walker, serving the church as it grew from a struggling few to many thousands. God had other plans. Bill Hybels was called to bring leadership teaching to the world. Really? Hybels needed another project? Global Leadership Summits are attended across the globe, training and equipping leaders. A water walker.
You can name others in your community of friends and acquaintances. Water walkers often do not get any press write-ups; they don’t want them. Sometimes the call will affect only a few. It does not matter the size. Sometimes you must leave your home, and other times, not. It does not matter the place. You may be young and starting out in life or older and looking for something new of significance. Age doesn’t matter either.
Water walkers will share certain characteristics. They are obedient to the call and have the courage to step out of their comfort zone into the unknown. They are not smarter, nor richer, nor more trained. They are just courageously obedient.
CURE International needs water walkers to help provide the emotional, spiritual, and physical care for the children with disabilities living in the developing world. Are you a water walker? Do you want to be one and experience living in courageous obedience?
Has God been stirring your nest of comfort lately? Can you step out in courageous obedience to serve those in need? If so, an adventure awaits! You will not have control of all aspects. You will fail at times, and you will succeed, too. But you will live, not merely exist, living life in His grip.