Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, February 19, 2016
This Week’s Devotional Focus is, “Prayer.”
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30).
I am going to share three words with you that have the potential to change your life forever! I admit that oftentimes people say or write things as startling openers to get your attention and fall desperately short of their claim. I assure you that this will not be the case today, by God’s grace. Before I tell you what the three words are, I have a couple of stories.
I have a childhood friend of more than 35 years who put out an S.O.S. to a few of us last night. He is in a desperate spiritual situation. He highlighted several details of his life that span a few years (at least from his perspective), and with questions, one after the other, cried out for help. I will admit to you that the situation is indeed serious. I had a knee jerk response locked, loaded, and ready to fire, but I decided to hold off. I realized that the Lord wanted to do something much greater than a quick response could communicate. I also realized that he and I had more in common than it would appear. While the details of our experience are vastly different, the feeling of hopelessness is the common denominator. What do you do, when you are at your wit’s end? What do you do when your spiritual life is in shambles, and it is spilling over into your earthly experience? Do you simply carry on like business as usual? Let me tell you what the disciple Peter did.
After a day of miracles where Jesus fed thousands of people with a meager little lunch, He went into His secret place of prayer. Do you have that secret place of prayer? Do you invest the time, no matter how your feel, and cry out to God until He answers you? After some time, Jesus went on a miraculous walk on the sea to rendezvous with His disciples who had already rowed their boat gently down the way until a boisterous storm threatened to capsize their boat. The disciples caught a glimpse of Jesus walking on the sea, and like most of us, were afraid, thinking something really fishy was going on. But Jesus allayed their fears and assured them that a spirit was not accosting them. Peter, being the impetuous man he was, said that if it was indeed Jesus that He should beckon him to walk on the water too. Jesus obliged. And for some period of time, we do not know how much, Jesus and Peter walked miraculously together on the water. Amazing!
Then it happened: Peter’s walk of a lifetime was violently interrupted. For a critical moment in time, Peter took His eyes off the Source of his miracle. During that moment, the reality of the storm began to destroy his mortal life. During that moment, his faith was tested to the extreme. During that moment, the very real winds, waves, and raging sea became his focus and he began to drown. There was no fisherman’s or Israeli Navy training that could save him. He couldn’t turn his clothing into some last-ditch floatation device until he got help. No. He had only one last hope.
Are you ready for this? I hope so, because it is the key to deliverance through any and all trials of life. Peter’s tiny, last bit of faith reached out to the King of the universe and Master of the seas and eked out three words. I don’t know how the three words sound when your life is taking on water like a sinking vessel, but in desperation he said, “Lord . . . save . . . me!”
It was at that very moment that Jesus kept His promise. If you have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed and the waters seem to destroy you, before you call He will answer and while you yet speak, He will hear. The Bible says that Jesus immediately rescued Peter from drowning. He did not delay. Jesus immediately responded to Peter’s three desperate words that, if uttered to God with any sprinkle of faith, He will answer today.
Most of us suffer with temporary lapses in heavenly focus just like Peter. We experience the miracle of walking with Jesus and suddenly experience a violent change in our experience. If we take an honest inventory of our lives, it is not the winds of trials, the waves of difficulties, or shifting waters of life that begin to drown us. Jesus is the Master of all that. I can tell you from experience that it’s our choice to look away from Christ during those trials that cause our demise.
If this is you; if you are drowning spiritually, call out to God and expect Him to deliver you. Return your focus to prayer. Return your focus to Bible study. Return your focus to sharing a little of your experience with people who are in more desperate straits than you, and the Lord will do a miracle in your life you never expected. It seems too simple, but I assure you that making it much more complicated than this will prove your demise. Tarrying in God’s presence in these ways through worship will open your senses to all God wants to do to deal with the trials. I said tarrying, not taking a quick, occasional jaunt in God’s presence in these ways through worship will open your senses to all God wants to do to deal with all of your trials.