It seems, as with Peter, when you step out of the boat, it's so easy to focus on Jesus standing there before you. He has given you a clear directive, "Step out of the boat, and come to me." It's exhilarating, unbelievable, awesome, exciting, freeing.... And, then 1/2 way between you and the promise, the waves start tossing. You toss a fleeting glance at the water, but you quickly get your eyes back on Jesus. But, life, your own ingrained fears, and the enemy have thrown just enough momentary doubt at your feet that the exhilaration starts to wan. You've refocused back on Jesus, but now there's this slightest amount of doubt. So, when the storm increases, when the waves hit your ankles this time, then your calves, you're looking at the water, instead of keeping your eyes on Jesus. Then what do we do? There's no indication that Peter did this, but for me, it begins, "Was that really You, Lord? Did you really call my name? Maybe I was hearing things?" Fortunately, I haven't sank yet!! And, I don't plan to! : ) "What time I am afraid I will trust in You."
When God told James he was finished building, He gave no indication of what he WAS supposed to do. James was immediately willing and did step away, but He had no idea what God DID want him to do. We discussed that this free time was the perfect opportunity for him to delve into the Word and grow in his relationship with God, which he did. About 4 months later, God spoke clearly to me through 1 Kings 17. You know~ Elijah, the drought, the widow with the never ending supply of flour? One of the very first verses, God commands Elijah to go east and to hide by the brook Cherith, and "It shall be that you will drink of the brook.." I don't know if you'll see it, but it was very clear direction for us that James was to hide in Jesus, the living water. He was to continue in His Word, learning and growing in wisdom, and God would meet and provide for our needs.
That was 4 years ago. God has provided for us in amazing ways without us asking for help, all the way down to vacations and a very beautiful wedding for our daughter. But, yes, there have been moments of the water splashing around my ankles. Even in the midst of His provision. And, then there's now. It's really starting to threaten. I'm really struggling to keep my eye on the Provider not the provision. So, when I felt drawn to study 1 Kings 17 again last week, this is what I saw, "It happened after a while that the brook dried up." Not that I hadn't seen that before. In fact, I remember very clearly wondering if I could hang on to such strong faith when the brook dried up. But, I think there was something in the back of my mind, especially as God kept providing before we needed it, that said, "the brook won't completely dry up. God has been doing all these things, and He won't let it dry up completely." Hmmmm.....that's not what it says.
What it says is that the brook dried up, THEN God showed Elijah clearly where he should go, and how He would provide for him. Where are my eyes? On the water, or on the Provider, the promise, the Savior? Some days they're right where they should be, and some days...mostly those days when I have to pay the bills or balance the checkbook, or a lot of expenses are coming....like this week...I have a hard time keeping my eyes looking up, off the water. See, all this time we've had a small stash of money in mutual funds. We haven't had to touch it because God has been so good to us. And, of course, He is still good to us, but now it seems He is calling us to let go of that last of it. That bit that was probably a security to us, even though we didn't really think about it.
We know God has called James into ministry, and we have seen God use this time for His work in some amazing ways! Plus, the relationship, knowledge, wisdom, insight, and confidence in speaking up and out have continued to grow. But, even as James has been seeking God continuously on where this was going, we haven't had any answers. Much of the time has been preparation. In the past few months, though, God has given James a burden, and perhaps begun to give him a vision for this ministry....at least what it is to focus on, if not yet how that is to be accomplished.
So, as these days progress, and the brook dries up, I pray that I have the strength, wisdom, and faith to cling to my Father, who only gives good things to His children; to keep my eyes on the Provider; to remember His promises; and to wait *EXPECTANTLY*, joyfully, and with faith on what He is going to do next, because He WILL show us where to go and how He will provide.