Last weekend, I was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and found myself telling her that I felt like so many areas of my life were in flux, that I was having trouble finding firm footing in any of them. It wasn’t a new thought to me. I’ve made this same statement to friends over the past few months. But this time, I found myself thinking about what I’d said for the rest of the weekend. And I found myself wondering what God has to say about it. For in all my talking and praying through the feelings of standing on shifting sand, I hadn’t actually thought about what God had already said about such a state of life in His Word.
As I considered this, three scriptures popped to mind: the wise and foolish men building their houses, Peter walking on water, and James’s admonition to not be double-minded. Before I even pulled out my Bible, I noticed that these three passages had two things in common: wind and waves. Yep, right where I am. Feeling buffeted, unable to get solid footing. As if being pushed about by wind and waves. So I dove into God’s Word to see what other truths might be common to these three passages.
Matthew 7:24-27 describes for us the wise man and the foolish man. Both hear the Word of God. The wise man acts on it. The foolish man does not. But the most interesting thing to me for this particular study was the verses preceding the passage, the things Jesus was saying just before He says “everyone who hears these (my emphasis) words of mine . . .” These words of His talked about knowing those who are God’s by the fruit of their lives, by their obedience to the Father. (Matthew 7:12-23)
Matthew 14:24-33 tells us of Jesus coming to the disciples, walking across the surface of the water. Jesus identifies Himself to them and tells them not to be afraid. But Peter is unconvinced. He says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (Matt. 14:28) Jesus simply says, “Come!” (Matt. 14:29) It is only now that the wind is mentioned. Was it there before or did it kick up when Peter stepped over the side of the boat? Either way, the wind caused him to fear and his feet began to sink. He cries out to the Lord and the Lord rescues him, stopping the wind only after they both got into the boat.
James 1:5-8 begins with instruction for those who lack wisdom. James tells us if we are in that place, we need to ask God for wisdom, but we need to ask for God’s wisdom with a specific attitude–without doubting. If we doubt God will indeed give us His wisdom, we are “like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) He goes on to say that such a man is “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)
So what did I learn about dealing with my life in flux from the juxtaposition of these three very different passages of Scripture?
- Sometimes Jesus calls me into that life of instability, like Peter stepping from the boat or the wise and foolish men enduring the storm. But He doesn’t leave me in those situations alone and the time of wind and waves don’t last forever.
- I need to ask for God’s wisdom, but in doing so, I need to not doubt His answer, which means trusting God completely instead of weighing God’s wisdom against my own (being double-minded). I need to not be afraid of the wind and the waves but keep my eyes on Jesus.
- If I am pursing obedience to Christ, if I am allowing the Holy Spirit to grow things like peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control in my life, then when the winds and waves surround me, when my feet and body feel swayed and unsteady, the “house” of my life will remain intact. Daily obedience builds an unshakeable foundation. And the prayer for God’s wisdom will always be answered.
I love how the Word of God never fails to encourage my heart. And as I continue to walk through this season of paths that seem to shift beneath my feet and winds that threatens to blow me off the path completely, I will turn my heart and eyes back to Jesus, not my circumstances, and seek daily obedience to Him.