Can you believe it is 2017 already? Amazing things can happen to us this year. God will help us along if we allow Him into our lives.
With this new year, I would like to start a new series focusing on a specific aspect of Philippians 4:8 “Whatsoever Things are Lovely.” When I think of the word lovely, I turn my thoughts to nature, art, and music. We will begin by discussing the subject of music.
Music has been one of my biggest passions since I was a child. I grew up in a household where music was highly valued. My grandmother plays the piano beautifully, and she shared that talent with several individuals. She taught me and other family members how to play the piano as well. I remember going over to one of my uncle’s house and seeing his immense CD collection. Several of my cousins have musical talents. My father plays guitar and drums and is also a singer; he is the music minister of his congregation. I have been singing as long as I can remember and have participated in several choirs at school and church.
I have a connection with music and how it can bring us through difficult times. I especially admire artists that have turned their talent to God and allowed Him to guide them as they write accompaniments and lyrics to inspire those who will take the time to listen and ponder the message.
So let’s begin by exploring a song by Britt Nicole. I first learned about Britt Nicole sometime around 2013-2014. Ever since then, I have listened intently to her lyrics and the message she tries to convey. Her song “Walk on the Water” is very fitting to the subject we studied throughout the Hebrews 11 series: faith.
I encourage you to read the lyrics here and watch Britt Nicole’s video here. If you wish, keep the lyrics open in another tab while we dissect the message and apply it to our lives.
We have all faced fears and doubts and have wondered if there was any hope to overcome them. Some of us have felt bogged down feeling that there was no way out of them until we turned to God in prayer. And even then, we have felt that it was too difficult to press forward and ask what was in our hearts: divine intervention, guidance, a glimmer of hope, someone to help us, a change of situation, stronger faith, a straight-forward answer. We have then gathered up our courage and decided, what do we have to lose? That’s when we take the first step.
Let’s review the definition of faith, which we discussed in ‘A Foundation of Faith:’
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). ‘It begins as a hope for something that is physically or spiritually out of our reach. We cannot at that particular instance know the end from the beginning.’
I like the part where Britt Nicole sings “Don’t wait, don’t you turn around and miss out everything you were made for, I know you’re not sure, so you play it safe.” How many times have we missed opportunities that would have carried us further than we could have ever imagined had we just journeyed on a difficult path, or in this case, took the first step into the water.
I like to imagine myself at the edge of the ocean unsure of what lies ahead of the horizon. My past is behind me already set out on hard ground. The water gives way easily when I take a step. My feet, my ankles, my legs are soaked as I try to walk into the ocean. I begin to sink as I realize I don’t have what it takes. I begin to cry because I am weak, and my tears make the ocean rise higher and higher above my head. I am drowning. I gasp for air and swallow salty water mixed with my tears. I cry in my heart for help, and then Christ reaches out and pulls me out of the water. He has me in His arms and wants to lead the way. He holds my hand as we walk along on the ocean. Once He sees that I am no longer afraid, He lets go and allows me to walk by myself. He is in front of me, walking backwards, while my eyes are fixed on Him. I take one step after another, sometimes I want to hesitate, but then I remember how awful it felt when I was drowning. Eventually, I reach the other shore and see the beautiful path ahead.
Now that image may not be an ocean all the time. Sometimes it is a pond, a pool, or a lake. But sometimes it feels more like the Atlantic Ocean with a raging storm at some point of the journey. Picture yourself on the ship in the midst of the sea with Peter and some of Jesus’s other disciples as you read the following scripture.
Matthew 14: 24-33
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
What are we afraid of? Jesus wants us to take courage and accomplish the impossible. He wants you to know that you are not alone. He will be with you every step of the way. He will save you from the trials you go through in life. He will allow the winds to cease. Every trial we go through will strengthen us and our testimonies will grow. We will know that He IS the Son of God, and we will bow down at His feet and worship Him.
This year, I invite you to take courage, to put away your doubts and your fears, and to walk on the water. But don’t go out into the water alone. Pray. Pray that Heavenly Father will lead you through whatever situation you are facing and provide answers to your questions. Pray for courage. Pray for hope. Pray that you will develop stronger faith. I know that if we leave our burdens at Jesus’s feet, He will pick them up and carry the load. You will make it through much stronger. It may take longer than you expect, but you will make it. Don’t give up. Don’t run away. Be of good cheer. Be not afraid.