Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I DARE YOU

CROSSING THE VOID
To serve the Lord well one must have confidence and daring. Chauncey C. Riddle, “Obstacles to Prayer,” Ensign, Jan 1976, 27
So today is Wednesday, hump day. Have you all seen this ridiculous GEICO commercial that features a talking camel? It’s a first for me, because I have seen just about all types of animals “talking”, but not a camel. The camel is running around in an office, daring people to tell him “What day it is”. Most of the people try to ignore him, but he continues to badger them; daring people to say “its hump day Wednesday”. What does it mean to “dare”? Today is Wordsmith Wednesday, and if you don’t know the meaning of “wordsmith”, then I will tell you after our discussion on the word “dare”.

To dare is to challenge us in the face of our fears, to turn us upside down and shake every preconceived notion out of our pockets and sometimes; even to  scare us. Can you think of a situation where someone “dared” or challenged you to come out of a comfort zone to  just do it?  I believe that when the Savior challenges us to “Come unto me”, it’s a dare. You have probably never thought of it that way, but think about it. What is involved when we “come unto” the Savior?  First is the courage to believe that Jesus is the Christ and faith unto repentance so that we can practice obedience to Him. Is it a scary thing to become an obedient servant? The Savior demands (seriously) that we become obedient to Him in all things, even those things that look unreal on the surface, but it's what lies beneath that will test our faith.
 
Remember the story of Peter climbing out of his fishing boat to meet the Savior on a stormy sea? And oh yes, he started to walk out on water!!! I know that there was a lot spiritual preparation on Peter’s part before he got out of that boat, but the fact is Peter responded to the dare: I really don’t think he felt he had any other choice; this is Peter’s conversion process.
Matthew 14:26-29
 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Do you see the “language” in this conversation? What was the buildup? This had been a long day for the disciples. Earlier during the day, they had witnessed Jesus feeding over 5000 people with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. This was a test for them but for some reason, it went over their heads, they were not “challenged” enough in their believing that Jesus was the Son of God. So he parted ways with them, and told them that he would meet them later. So later is about 4 a.m. or the “fourth watch”, and Jesus comes to meet them by walking across the Sea of Galilee. The disciples actually “see” him with the natural eye, because this is not just “revelation” but a “real time” confirmation of the divinity of Jesus as the Savior. But, they did not take this “scene” at face value, they defaulted to their past behavior of unbelief and fear and spiritual weakness and decided that even though he looked like Jesus, he was a ghost.  Maybe they thought it was a bad dream.
Romans 13:11-12
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
How did the Savior challenge not only Peter, but the rest of his disciples to “Come”? First he diffused the situation by admonishing them to “Fear not”, and be of Good cheer or in other words “Wake up guys: “Awake sleeper’s” its game day.” And secondly he reassured them that “It is I, or rather he confirmed “I AM”,” enough said. (Notice he didn’t say, guys it’s me). And then he continued to walk toward them, almost passing them by.
Matthew 14: 29 So He said “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Was the fact that Peter got out of the boat the turning point? I am going to say no, and hear me out.
Matthew 14: 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
There are many points of doctrine to explore in this lesson, but if you will notice, Peter issued his own challenge to the Savior, almost cheeky: “If thou be the son of God, if it is really you master.” I know that Peter had to remember a previous lesson concerning his first revelation that Jesus is the Christ. Peter seemed to realize that he was “waffling”, could he pull on that revelation and “know that Jesus was really “there”, walking on water? Maybe he didn’t trust that revelation, but in his “spiritual weakness” at that moment, he knew he had to take a chance, to exercise a measure of faith and obedience and come out of that boat, come hell or high water. Obedience,what?
 I believe that the turning point, the game changer for Peter was that after he looked away and started to sink, he called out to Jesus to rescue him. Yeah, it’s underwhelming isn’t it? And to seemingly make it worse, the Savior seemed disappointed that he couldn’t go the distance.  Here is something to ponder; does the Savior expect us to go the distance, without Him?
Matthew 14:30-31
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I wonder if the last statement “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” was directed more to the group huddled in the boat, who were still screaming in terror. Why didn't they climb out of the boat too? It wasn't the “walk on the water” that showed the “daring trust” Peter had in the Lord, it was the knowledge, yea even the confidence  Peter had to  call out, knowing that  Jesus would  rescue him; that he would be there immediately with a hand up. That was the revelation which is the truth.  
Psalm 144:6-7
6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them; shoot out your arrows and destroy them.
7 stretch out your hand from above; rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,..
The takeaway for me is this; we have that potential, to manifest “daring trust” in the Lord. True daring means that we can conquer our fears by gathering up everything we have been taught and trusting in the Lord, and climb out of the boat. I am really exhilarated by this “revelation” to me. I feel in my heart that I am preparing and being prepared to step out and move into a different sphere. Isn't that how we learn and progress?  We don’t have to be “perfect”, but we are being perfected in Christ. If he bid’s us come, then we should dare to walk out to him in faith.     

Many of us, weak in the spirit, do waver. Weakness stifles the impulse to pray; worse, it works against our obedience when we have prayed. To serve the Lord well one must have confidence and daring. But the true confidence is born of the companionship of the Comforter. True daring is trust in the Lord, knowing that there is a narrow path to success through any difficulty if only we can love and serve him with all our hearts, might’s, minds, and strength. Chauncey C. Riddle, “Obstacles to Prayer,” Ensign, Jan 1976, 27

courtesy of "The Bible" Miniseris
Peter walking on Water
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