Daring to ice skate with Jesus.
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What is it about iced over bodies of water that fascinate us? Who was the first person to create skates so we could glide across winter-altered water, I wonder? How fun it is! Children are especially drawn to test the waters, by putting their full weight on them and slipping across the surface that would have swallowed them up in another season. This can be dangerous when the ice is thin, or when there are fissures that compromise the integrity of the surface. If we’re not careful, what appears solid may betray us and we find ourselves plunged into frigid sinkholes.
I wonder if our fascination is related to a desire to walk upon the waters as Jesus did? Like Peter, we long to test out the solidity of His power to sustain us. We want to experience gliding through life, walking with Him where our feet would not hold otherwise.
But we’re also terrified, aren’t we? What if we step out – with hope welling up that we can “do all things through Christ who gives us strength” – only to crack through the surface and drown? What if it wasn’t really Jesus who called us, and we mistakenly took the journey alone only to become hypothermic and humiliated?
Look at these kids beside this young man. Such playful wonder! Even the instrument he holds adds to the creative joy in this scene. You can just hear their thoughts. “Is it safe? Do we dare test it out?” Couldn’t you just see this lead to the three of them laughing and slip-sliding around on the ice?
Beloved of God, Jesus delights in calling you to deeper trust in Him. You will never set out alone, for He always “goes before us and follows us.” (Psalm 139:5) He is patient as you learn to trust Him.
Do you sense Jesus inviting you to walk somewhere that requires stronger faith in Him? Go for it! And, if the ice cracks, and it likely will sometimes, His grace will catch you, just like it did for Peter. He will hold you fast and set your feet on solid ground. Then, guess what?! He’ll call you right back out with Him with a huge smile and joy in His eyes, like a big brother teaching his kid sibling to ice skate.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
Matthew 14:27-29 New Living Translation
Photo copyright Douglas Brauner
Text copyright Jen Brukiewa