Have you ever seen a lightning bolt hit the ground in the darkness of the night and in the middle of a storm? Ignore the frightening effect of the sound and any fear of being hit by it. Focus just on the revealing nature of the light… It’s pitch dark outside but you’re now able to see as if it were a clear day. Only for a moment, though. And you’ve got to be paying attention otherwise it’s so easy to miss.
I have moments of faith that are very similar. My guess is that you have them too. They’re the brief times in our otherwise regular daily life when you overcome the gap of fear and are able to see far beyond the now. The moments when you realize that “I can take this step and will be O.K. after it” because you’ve just encountered God and He confirmed it. The darkness before you is no longer impenetrable.
I recently had one of these moments. It was the most ordinary of days that you could imagine – full of challenges and stress, tasks to get done and things to figure out. Then amidst all of this, at the most random of times, it hit me: “God is with me. He took me so far and He will not let me down. He will help me get it all sorted out.” To you these may be simple words, and on any other day – they would have meant the same to me. This time, however, these words… the thoughts – they reached so deep in my mind and my heart and the sense of peace they brought is impossible to describe. I just stood in the middle of my room, staring in the nowhere but with a big smile.
Seconds later I was picturing Peter taking that step of faith, out of the boat and onto the water. He couldn’t care less about fear and everything that his experience as a fisherman had taught him. He spanned the gap between himself and Jesus… almost. Only if he had remained focused on the Lord. We often look at this passage and focus on how Peter failed to finish his walk toward Jesus. At other times we read it and focus on his great faith to even begin the walk. But there’s also a third aspect of this event in Peter’s life – it was so big, it must have stayed with him till the end. You don’t walk on water one night and then forget about it in the morning, just like that.
Similarly to Peter, I was soon back to worrying about what lies ahead of me and how I’m going to make it. The moment was gone. But the experience stayed with me. I now have one more point of reference to look back to when the night is dark and I can’t see far ahead. I know in a fresh way that God is with me. He will move me forward.
Interestingly enough, the same thing happens to the church… not just to individuals. See how the first church was in the beginning of Acts. It was in the moment of faith – spanning the gap and nothing could stop it… Today the church often might seem to be out of the moment of faith and the gap – too large. But the experience is there. We need to recall this from our memory. We also need to stay focused on the Lord. A new moment of faith will come and we mustn’t miss it.