April 17 Devotional
Opening Prayer: O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things. - St. Ignatius
Scripture: Matthew 14:23-32
Journal: Where is Jesus calling you to step out of your boat these days? What does that look like? Where is he calling you to deeper places with him? To deeper trust?
Reflection: If nothing else you have to admire Peter’s willingness. I mean, at least he desired to step out of the boat and move toward Jesus - and dared to do so. It was not an easy step, to say the least. The step into deep waters never is. It requires a lot. Jesus was asking Peter to leave the security of the boat and his friends and his old life and ways, and to join him in a totally new and totally unfamiliar place. A place of total surrender and total abandon. That’s what real life with God is all about. We can’t avoid it or deny it.
And when Jesus invites us to that place with him it always requires us to step out of our comfortable and controlled lives (and ways) and step into a life that is completely determined and ordered by him. It is a place where real trust is necessary and real life is experienced. Peter took him up on it. Most of us never get that far. Most of us hear the call and rationalize that it is for someone else. Most of us hear his invitation to a deeper life with him and allow the wind and the waves to affect us, long before we ever consider stepping out onto the raging sea.
Peter’s willingness meant that he was able to experience something that none of the other disciples (at this point at least) were willing to. That is often the case with all of us. So often we are simply unwilling - be it from fear, or preoccupation, or comfort, or control and agenda - to step out onto the sea (into the deep) with Jesus, where we must totally trust his care and his control. The deep is a place where we cannot touch bottom, where we cannot control things, where we cannot manage life on our own terms. The deep is a place where we have no idea what will happen when we actually set foot upon its waters. Therefore, it is a place of total vulnerability, total surrender, and total trust. Peter was willing to go there. He stepped out. He took nothing with him. He completely let go of everything else but this burning desire to be with Jesus, wherever Jesus may lead, whatever Jesus might ask. The call of Jesus is like that for us all. Are we willing to take that step, whatever that step may look like? Are we willing to join him? If we really want to be his, there is no other choice.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Mostafa and Mona Sharkawy’s main area of work is the U.K., serving among Arab Muslims. Their goals are to see Arabic churches arise from Muslim background believers, to see new generations of leaders from Muslim believers, and to teach and prepare them for future ministry. Pray today for the ongoing ministry inside the Immigration Removal Centre to flourish and be blessed. Pray for the new believers to be strengthened in their new faith in Christ.
Keymedia uses television, radio, the Internet and printed literature as well as local missionaries, in their Arabic and Muslim target countries, for the key purpose of planting churches and discipling local believers to take the gospel to their nation’s people. Pray today for those who are planting churches as a result of this organization.
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us a willingness to respond to your invitation to step out of our boat, whatever that may mean, and to follow you as we step out onto the raging sea. Amen.