My Utmost for His Highest reading yesterday had me thinking hard about Peter and what and how he did what he did when he jumped out of that boat that day, arm outstretched to Jesus.
Clearly, he wasn't thinking. You're not thinking if, in the middle of lightning flashing and heaving waves you jump OUT of the boat. He wasn't thinking, he was just doing. He recognized Jesus, abandoned his reason, and went.
That can preach. There's good stuff there. I was touched.
But wait till you hear what deep well I found in Matthew 14, where this story comes from.
Jesus wasn't just out on the water while they were boating. Do you know what had just happened? Like, that very same day?
That very morning, Jesus got word that John the Baptist...not just His friend, His ministry partner, and Jis disciple, but His very blood...had been beheaded. He just learned that John was dead. Suddenly, Jesus was in the middle of something deeply sad, unshakably dark. As soon as He hear it, He withdrew...withdrew to a lonely place.
Jesus was in an understandably dark and lonely place. He had lost his friend. He very much so had the right to be alone and to be spending some time on His own, with His thoughts.
But everyone followed Him. And He felt compassion for them, and started healing them. Jesus abandoned His self-consideration. Let go of where He was, and didn't question what God was doing. He just did what His Father had set before Him.
But it was reckless, as the disciples soon pointed out. Evening was coming, (think of how emotionally exhausted Jesus must have been by now!), and Jesus had kept everyone out late. Now what were they going to do with everyone?
Jesus surrendered himself again, performing one of the most bafflingly-huge miracles...feeding five thousand men and their wives and their children and their neighbors.
And immediately He pushed the disciples into the boat and out to sea, sent the fed and healed multitudes home, and went alone to pray.
He must have been so anxious to spend some time with His Dad after a day like that...
But then the "wind was contrary", the boat was being "battered" by the waves and no one on that boat was at ease, that's for sure. Jesus walked out to them in the fourth part of the night, and they were frightened.
Check out this progression. (vs.27)
They cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage. It's me. Do not be afraid."
And Peter, though he had just spent the day with Jesus, jumps out to meet Him.
But wait... Before Peter did something crazy, something reckless, something abandoned, he checked with Jesus first.
"Lord, ask me to come to You on the water!"
Come, Jesus said.
So he went.
He recognized Jesus, and self-consideration was out the window. Jesus said "come", and he went. He was reckless immediately, completely unconstrained.
Surely it gave Jesus a whelm of joy to see his friend abandon ship like that.
But suddenly Peter began to take into account everything he saw, everything around him...his circumstances, the wind, the waves, the logic, science, his life. Self-consideration came in and recognition of the craziness of what he was doing sank in, and so did he.
"Lord, save me!" and immediately Jesus took hold of him.
We don't know when Jesus' voice is going to come to us. We don't know when or how or where He's going to speak, or what or when or how He's going to say it.
But we have to be determined to recklessly abandon ourselves when He does. When He does speak: Take courage. It's me. Don't be afraid....COME...we have to abandon ourselves and jump overboard.
It's only through that abandonment of ourselves and our circumstances that we will even be ABLE to recognize Jesus and His voice.
And yeah, sometimes that voice might ask us to do something "crazy." Like, talk about Jesus in a place and age where it's wildly unpopular. Like, dress counter-culturally. Like, change jobs. Like, move. Like, forgive. Like, stop _________. Like, start __________. Break up. Make a commitment. Change your speech. Change your attitude. Do something different. Do everything different. Move to Haiti. Stay in Haiti. I don't know.
But you know what? Though Jesus' reckless abandonment had Him healing the blind and doing crazy food multiplication, you know where it led Peter?
Peter put all his self-consideration aside and jumped out of a boat in the middle of a storm in front of his friends in the middle of the night...just to be close to Jesus.
The same Jesus he walked with every day.
He recklessly abandoned himself, stepping out on the knowledge that it was Jesus and that he had heard Jesus' voice, just to be with Him.
Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus and listening for His voice, maintaining complete reliance and understanding of your life on Him. We will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness--being willing to risk our ALL, even if only to be nearer to Him.