A week ago, my wife, son, and I were sitting in a church service at our home church in Gahanna, Ohio – Eastside Community Church They gave us a beautiful send-off before we left for our new adventure in Florida. As we were praying at the end of service, Pastor Kelly had picked a song for the altar time – Oceans.
I have probably listened to this song 200 times in the last couple months, and it has become more pertinent to our lives every day.
And today, our first Sunday in Florida, we visited the Sebastian satellite of Calvary Chapel. And guess what song they sang? (Though I will selfishly say that they really need a cellist to help with that song).
The song basically talks about how God will sometimes call us to step out of our comfort zones. “You call me out upon the waters / the great unknown, where feet may fail.” We have definitely felt that apprehension of leaving our comfort.
I am reminded that we are certainly not the first to undergo this. I thought about the Bible – a collection of nearly 2000 years’ worth of documentation about humanity. And the only consistency in this midst is God and change.
God always is there for His people. He is always there for us.
And change is always there. It’s not comfortable. I’m reminded of the Israelites who had become quite comfortable in their worship up until 722 B.C. or so. In the next 140 years, they were taken over by two enemies and found themselves dispersed amongst the nations and having to rapidly change their paradigm of worship. The same thing happened in the late A.D. 60’s with the diaspora of the new Christians. Yet in all these, God stood firm and supported His people through the change.
So why should my prayer not be the bridge of this song: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / Let me walk upon the waters / Wherever You would call me / Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander / And my faith will be made stronger / In the presence of my Savior.”
Paul addressed the Corinthians in his letter with a strange claim – especially considering his learned nature. “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (I Cor 2:2-5 NASB).
I have, through the course of 1 ½ Master’s Degrees, I have – without question – embraced my intellectual side. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not anti-intellectual. I believe that we need this as Christians, particularly in an apologetic sense. But there is also a faith component that I cannot ignore. In the time that everything fails, faith remains. We don’t always understand what God has called us to do. It may not make sense at the time. God calls us to step out in faith during these times.
I’m reminded of a quote that has stayed with me since I read the book. “He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all — to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes” (The Call).
One of the pervasive feelings I have received is that there is something coming up – maybe an old dream that will be realized. Interestingly, I had two men of God speak into my life as this trip started. One told me that this trip was like Paul when he returned to Tarsus between his conversion / call and the start of his ministry. The second, which was also the source of the message this morning, was from James 4. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’ (James 4:13-15 NASB)
So we’re out of the boat. It’s time to put our faith in a God who cannot fail us. It’s time to “call upon [His] name. And keep my eyes above the waves.”