Written by Amy Byrd
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side…the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:24
There I was…a woman that Jesus called out personally to be His follower. I had responded to the call of God and was “rowing” in the direction that He sent me…and then it happened…the wind of fear and doubt began to push me around which caused me to lose my bearings and hide behind common sense. Surely God would not ask me to appear “different” in my approach to life. Wouldn’t He want me to blend into the “got it all together” lifestyle in order to make an impact for Christ? Somehow, it was not working out for me.
You see, my husband and I have moved seven times in the last six years. Yes, you heard me correctly, and each move has been a considerable downsize! We are in the “middle” of our life…the fabulous fifties (well, that is if we live to be centenarians)…and we should have acquired the large, comfortable home in a lovely neighborhood with an SUV and a truck…all paid for, of course, as we sail into the twilight years of retirement. But God had a much bigger plan.
Did I mention downsizing? Ok…let me try to explain this painful process. It includes several garage sales of mammoth proportion, car loads of lovely items dropped off at the local Goodwill (you know you are one of their largest contributors when you actually rebuy your own stuff off of their shelves…just sayin’) and gifts to family and friends…from your very own household items. Add to this process many tears as you clutch tightly to your breast the “precious stuff” of your life, all the while reminiscing the moments that it brought you joy. Oh yes…don’t forget the storage shed full of leftovers that I could just not part with yet, so they remain hidden away in a dark and damp shed just waiting for my obedient release!
I have loved God all of my cognizant life, however, He wanted so much more. Evidently, my admiration for position and reputation and making sure nobody was ever disappointed in mehad clouded my true affection and desire to be what He had planned for my life. He asked me to get into the boatand head towards a new place, in uncharted waters. In order to embark on this new adventure, I would have to travel light. He would call me to give up the title to our comfortable house and gently insist that there was no need for all the “pretties” that decorated our home for years because they had become distracting to His job description for me.And don’t forget, the career for which I had studied many years…gone. I must tell you that this downsizing event has been very painful, but it is hard to express the new level of freedom and abundant life that has been planted in the empty spaces that once had been cluttered with my life’s “stuff”.
When we enter the boat that is headed in a new direction of work for the Kingdom, no matter what He calls us to do, there is always the probability of a howling wind that will try to turn us in a direction of ease and carry us to the “who knows where” of emptiness, discontent, anger, bitterness and defeat. If we read the rest of the story in Matthew 14:22-32 (walking on the water passage) we would see great faith mixed with great doubt rescued by the faithfulness of Jesus to immediately reach down and pick up the flailing brother. Don’t be deceived…living the “called out, get in the boat and head a different direction” life will be difficult at times, but it will end in worship that exclaims to Jesus…Truly, you are the Son of God.
Let’s keep on rowing dear friends…He is worth the spiritual muscle, and at times the emotional energy exerted for His plan and ultimate glory.
Amy Byrd is the author of the Bible study Blessed Beyond Belief: Claiming Your Rights in Christ. Read more about Amy here.