How big is our God?

Get out of the boat and walk on the water
Get out of the boat and take His hand
Get out of the boat and walk on the water
He will be with you in whatever you may do
He will help you stand
On the blue waters of life, my friend
He will help you stand

For last night and most of today, I’ve had this song stuck in my head. It’s a Sunday school song that I remember singing years ago – it could be the catchy melody, it could be from remembering some of the actions, it could be since it speaks of such a well known story… but it’s a song I’ve never forgotten.

Earlier today I sat in on the final week of a book study – “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg. Today we discussed the final chapter, chapter 10 of 10, entitled “How Big is Your God?” And, oh my goodness… how timely for me right now. I was able to read it last night, and I am so grateful I did. It’s such a good reminder that the moment we think God is anything less than He is, the moment we start to doubt or question His power… that’s when we put God in a box, and that’s when things start to, well, not work so well. It also talked about how worship of our God and Creator is really the only appropriate response; it reminds us just how big He really is.

I think so many of us have heard the phrase or expression to “put God in a box”. But do we know what that really means? Can we know what that really means until we’ve lived it, until we hit rock bottom and realize that the only way back out is to take God out of the box?

I know that’s what it took for me.

So I think it’s no accident that last night, prior to reading this chapter, I decided to rewatch a sermon at my church in California from back in May. While watching it I also took a peek at the notes I wrote that day, because it was the following day that my plane landed, that I finally started to internalize God’s love for ME, and that my life changed forever. Upon going through the notes and watching the sermon, a phrase I wrote stuck out to me…

“But… You’re God. I’m not. And if Your power can raise the dead to life, who am I to do anything but simply trust?”

Wow. The sermon that day was titled “Power vs. Pretending”. And that quote? Those were the last words I wrote in my journal that day. The following morning, less than 24 hours later, after weeks of struggling and questioning and upon the return of such devastating hopelessness… It all changed. And I got it.

It’s been over six months, and now I’m living in Virginia. The whole move has been a testament to God’s faithfulness and goodness, but six weeks in… to say things are going differently than I expected would be an understatement. I anticipated difficulty upon moving, sure. After all – it’s not every day that you pack up and leave behind everyone and everything you’ve ever known and move 3,000 miles away. But while I anticipated difficulty… I couldn’t have predicted this. No one could have, really.

Due to some factors that could be within human control as well as some that are most definitely NOT within human control, I’ve experienced symptoms and even relapsed and regressed far more than I would like to admit. In the last few days I’ve been able to see it for what it is and even start seeing why things may have happened this way.

But that doesn’t take away the pain.
The heartache.
The frustration.
The questions.
The… the shame. Yes, the shame.

It’s been hard to know how best to move forward. Well… to start moving forward.

But then I read my words last night for the first time in over six months, for the first time since I wrote them.

“But… You’re God. I’m not. And if Your power can raise the dead to life, who am I to do anything but simply trust?”

Wow. God knew I needed that, and He knew I needed the chapter and discussion this morning. It’s helped me to get grounded again, grounded in perspective – His perspective. That’s one of the biggest gifts and take aways from this spring… perspective.

As I’ve been pondering all of this, last night a dear friend commented on how much she loves the peace God gives me, that she’s having a hard time with it herself right now. So, being a writer, I immediately began pondering how I could put my peace from the Lord into words.

And, well… it’s basically this. Wee shouldn’t trust God instead of ever fearing, questioning, or worrying. Of course He calls us to move away from these things – He wouldn’t tell us not to fear so may times if He didn’t! But to use my word… it’s about shifting the perspective.

What if it’s not about trusting INSTEAD of fearing.
What if it’s about trusting IN SPITE of fearing.

Basically to say… yes, I’m worried. I’m anxious. Any rational human being would be in this situation. But I’m going to spend all the energy I have looking to Jesus, and to Him alone. I’m not going to spend energy trying to get rid of my anxiety… no, that’s God’s job. Not mine.

However – I am going to choose to trust. I’m going to put more energy into trusting than into worrying. In fact, I’m going to put ALL of my energy into trusting. And eventually… we might just forget about that fear and that worry. And besides, if we have any part at all in getting rid of that anxiety? Well… we won’t, because as long as we’re trying, the anxiety is not going to budge. It’s not until we let God fight our battles FOR us and not WITH us that He starts to move our mountains.

So as I’m here in Virginia, seemingly more questions than answers right now, I would be foolish to say that I don’t have questions or that I’m not anxious. I would be foolish to say that I haven’t started to ask God why He brought me all the way out here just to feel like I’m nearly back where I started. But I would ALSO be foolish not to look to Jesus. To worship Him for His goodness and faithfulness and mercy and love… to thank for Him for all that He has done. Because in doing all of that? I remember just how big He really is. And when I remember how big He is, I remember what He has done in my life, and how on so many different occasions He’s come through with far more than I could have asked or imagined!

Both last week and this week, the pastor leading the book/Bible study has asked the group, “Where is God calling you to get out of the boat?” I haven’t said anything, but I’ve wanted to raise my hand with an “Umm, well, I’m here, aren’t I??”. Because really, me moving to Virginia has been a big step out of the boat. And as this pastor put it when he talked about his own take-aways from the book, “The point of the story from Matthew 14 is not that Peter was bold enough to walk on water. The point is that Jesus rescued him when his faith faltered”.

So as things have gone differently here in Richmond, as I’ve questioned and asked why and just been so confused… I remember Jesus’s promise that He will ALWAYS be there to stretch His hand out, to lift us up, to rescue us.

I remember that this big, amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring God of the universe has given us the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us – even if that means going all the way to the cross.

And it did. He went to the cross not just for everyone else in the world… but for me, too. He went for Mary Rachel.

And if that’s not a reason to worship Him with not just our songs but with our lives as well… I don’t know what is.

Be blessed and be loved, my dear friends.