The waves surged around me. Lightning ripped across the sky. Thunder roared. Darkness surrounded me like a cloak.
The boat that I was in could no longer go forward, so strong was the wind against it.
But I had heard a call.
Unsure of how else to move forward, I leaned over the side of the boat and lifted one leg over the side. As I lowered my foot towards the water, a the fog of doubt descended. It swirled around me, whispering thoughts of fear and that I was crazy. Surely if this was God’s call…for me to come…to step out of the boat and walk on the water, He would wait until the storm was over and the waters were calm. What I was about to do seemed foolhardy…unwise…dangerous…not safe…contrary to logic.
Again I heard the call.
I looked down. The Belt of Truth was buckled firmly around my waist.
I took a step out of the boat and placed my foot onto the surging waters under me, not sure what I would find, but knowing that I must listen to the call to come. My foot landed on the water and I found underneath a firm surface. I looked down, and could see the waters, the waves moving, yet under me…
I placed my other foot onto the surface, and stood, unsure of how to keep a hold of the boat from which I had left. Should I try to keep a grip on it, so I would have something to jump back into if things didn’t go well? Should I try to pull it along? Maybe I should go back and get in…
As I reached back to take hold of the boat, I found that the choice had been made for me. A wave swept over the boat tipping it onto its side and then under the water. For one moment the bow was visible, and then it all disappeared from sight.
There would be no going back. Only forward.
I took one step. And then another. Each step slow and cautious, yet my courage grew as each one was met with a firm surface in the midst of the surging waves.
I took a few more steps when a flash of orange flew past my face. I sensed another brush past my arm. And then one struck my shoulder, and glanced off the breastplate I had on. I tried to wipe the spray of the waves from my eyes and look through the crashing waves.
Ahead of me, balls of fire…flames of orange…were headed my way. In the distance, I could see the outline of an enemy ship, a molten orb was on the deck. I could see shadowy figures in front, dancing back and forth…and then another volley of arrows came my way. With deadly accuracy they were they were able to skim through the waves, flying through the wind and rain to reach their target.
I held up my shield of faith, lifting it high. The volley of arrows was so great the waves around me glowed with a deadly orange light. As they flew past and around me, I could almost feel the poison of their fiery tips…thoughts of discouragement and fear whispering words of dismay shrouded the air around me as they sailed past. One by one they were extinguished by my shield.
And still I heard the call.
Forward I went through the volley of arrows. As I moved ahead they seemed to increase in their intensity and then…
Indeed, there was a pause unlike anything I had felt before. The whole ocean and sky seemed to be gasping a big breath, and then a flash of lightning lit up the air so that I could clearly see around me. The storm was still in full force, but a new enemy had emerged. Around my feet, just under the surface of the water, I saw the sharks. Time and again they came towards me, jaws open wide and tried to bite my metal clad feet out from under me, but they could not penetrate the boots of peace my feet were shod in.
One of the arrows struck a shark. It writhed in pain, blackness oozed from the wound. An awful scent filled the air.
And still I heard the call.
Next came the vultures. They flew at my head, the storm not affecting their bombardment. As they swept past I heard whispers of darkness, evil, lies, untruths. They descended upon me in a flurry, seeking to get past my helmet of salvation, but they could not.
And still I heard the call.
For a moment, my mind flashed back to the peaceful time on the beach where we walked hand in hand, and You taught me Your Words…Your truth.
“The time is soon coming,” You said, “When you will have to get out of the boat and walk on the water. You must do so in my strength and with my armor for you are in a battle.”
You taught me that if I walked with a heart of faith, fixed on You, I would not fall. And even when I did falter, and stumble, I would only fall into Your hands for You were the One holding me.
And then You put me in the boat and said, “Go.”
And so I went, thankful for the boat in the large sea of unfamiliar water. For I had always been a land person. I loved the feel of solid ground under my feet.
And then the storm came, and the boat would no longer go forward, for the wind was prevailing against it. You who control the sea, the wind, and the waves, had sent me out in a boat to cross the sea, but you did not stop the storm which raged against me.
How could I go forward when everything was against me?
And still I heard You call.
How could I come when the boat wouldn’t move forward?
And then I understood.
You had meant what you had said. I had to get out of the boat and walk on the water.
In Your strength.
With Your armor.
My mind came back to the present as the another volley of arrows flew past me, the force that propelled them causing sparks to glint off the breastplate of righteousness.
These arrows were designed to shred and destroy any armor made by any other hand other than that of the Master Craftman…armor forged in the death and resurrection of the Son. Armor given to me, made of the Son’s righteousness, and not my own.
And still I heard the call.
I faltered. Was I even hearing correctly? With the waves crashing, the thunder roaring, the sharks encircling, the arrows flying and the vultures descending, was my mind playing tricks on me.
How could I see with the darkness around me?
In desperation, I called and cried out “Help!” for the light of Your truth and Your promises was difficult to hang onto in the storm and the battle.
A dove flew past and whispered, “Do not be discouraged. Do not be dismayed. I am with You. Be bold and courageous.”
And then I heard the call again.
Refreshed and encouraged by the word of Your truth, I stepped forward as another bolt of lightning ripped across the sky. There I saw my enemy hovering before me, sword drawn. First he roared, trying to scare me so I would retreat.
I remembered Your words, “When the day of evil comes stand your ground.”
So I stood.
The enemy turned into an angel of light and for a moment a doorway of calm seas stood beside him. He extended his hand and said, “Come. You are tired. This surely cannot be what God has for you. What kind of God would send you into this? Doesn’t He control the waves and the sea and the wind? Why doesn’t He calm them for you?”
Behind him I saw a calm sea with blue sky and beautiful sunlight.
A longing for peace, for stillness, for quiet, and a release from the storm surged through me.
He extended his hand, beckoning me to follow.
But then I heard the Your call…
I drew myself up and resisted. Immediately the door and light disappeared and my enemy turned into a serpent. He slithered to me, and coiled around me.
“Did God really tell you to come this way? In this storm? In this water? Who do you think you are? You can’t walk on water.”
I drew my sword of truth. It glowed with a pure light, and flashed as I pointed it towards the serpent.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for my Shepherd is with me. Yes, God’s call leads me through storms, through darkness, but He does not and will not leave me nor forsake me.”
The serpent withdrew his head and I saw his tongue flicker again as he came in for another strike.
“If you continue on this path you will surely die. You will lose all that you hold dear.”
My heart throbbed and broke at these words. Pictures flashed through my mind of my daughters, my husband, my family, my home. And with tears streaming down my face I extended my sword and once again light flashed from it.
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. All that I have is Christ’s and is given by His hand. I came into this world with nothing and I can take nothing with me when I die. Blessed be the name of the Lord who has given me a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And He is keep an inheritance for me in heaven, my home, where He is preparing a place for me. He holds my family in His hands. He is in control of their future, not you. He will not lose any that have been given to him.”
The head of the serpent reared back and then shot forward with a speed faster than I could see, as his tongue flicked back and forth, I saw all the failures of my past flashing through my mind.
“How can you call yourself a child of the King? Look at all the times you have fallen short.”
The sword in my hand lept forward, light streaming and flashing in its brilliance.
“If God is for me, who can be against me. He did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for me. Because of His great love He has removed my sins as far as the east if from the west. I stand in His grace, justified by the blood of Christ, forgiven, clothed in His righteousness. Jesus Christ who died, and more than that is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for me. Who is the one who condemns me? No one.”
And suddenly the serpent fled from me. The battle ships retreated. The sharks drifted away. The thunder and lightning stilled. The waves quieted.
And I heard the call.
As I took a step forward light from my sword pointed the way forward and I became aware that You were beside me, holding me up, strengthening me.
In the storm.
As the light grew, the brilliance of Your beauty and glory, the faithfulness of Yourself, the truth of Your promises overwhelmed me.
I fell to my knees at Your feet and wept, thanking You for Your goodness, for Yourself, for Your truth.
And You said, “Arise my daughter. I have prepared work for you. I will equip You for works of service so that My church will be built up. You are My masterpiece, created in the image of God, to do good works that I have prepared in advance for you to do.”
“You will call on me, and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.”
Then You raised me to my feet and said…
“Come. Walk on the water with Me.”