Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that it felt like you were in deep water, and your face was barely above the surface, and that this was all happening in the place that God has called you to be? To be honest, it’s how I feel most of the time in ministry. I feel I have a list of demands thrown at me, some of which I place on myself, and so many people expect so many things all at once from so many different directions, and I know I can’t be still long enough to be organized enough to get it all done. There’s my first ministry to my family, husband, father, and with that, coach, counselor, mediator, provider, leader. There is the ministry to the congregation I serve, and with that comes people to lead, equipping and training the saints for the work of the Gospel, problems to solve among members, fires to fight, wolves to keep at bay, hearts to counsel and console and people to lead. Then there’s the extra ministries in my life: community leadership, summer camps to plan, boards to sit on, and the list goes on.
I feel like I’m drowning, and called out to walk on water, but I’m focused on the wind and the waves. Like Peter, I’m crying out “Lord, help me!” and, like Peter, Jesus plucks me out of the water and says “You of little faith, why do you doubt?” And this is where I get humbled, forgetting I was called to this, forgetting WHO called me to this, and taking my eyes off of Him. Instead of trusting Jesus, I let haste, urgency, have to, all things that are not at all in the Character and nature of Jesus, rule my life. Jesus was never in a rush, never in a hurry. He didn’t let the demands of people rule His time, rather, He was led by the Spirit. He withdrew to a quiet place and prayed often when He was busiest, He held back (as He did with Lazarus, two more days!), He moved on (as He did when the Disciples said “everyone is looking for you”), He said “no” (as He did when the people were coming to Him to make Him King because He fed them).
Friends, I say all of that to say this: if this is what Jesus did, we must do the same. We can’t give in to the demands of life, people, or anything else, we must emulate Jesus’ example in all things, and that includes slowing down, following the Spirit, relying on the Word to guide us, and relying on the Father for all things. People and Schedules will come in and make demands of us when God is saying “Be Still and Know I AM.” Haste, worry and impatience will tell us we need to do this now, when Jesus is saying “Let me be the Good Shepherd, I will lead you beside still waters, I will quiet your soul.” When we cry “Lord, help me” and try and do it all on our own, we’re asking for help, then trying to make it happen, rather than being still and waiting on the Lord. Trust Him. Let it go. It was never yours to hold on to. Trust Him, and be at peace, even as the storm rages around you.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”