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    The Deep

    Leaving the shallow end of faith. February 11, 2020 by Captain Scott Strissel
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought

    Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.—Matthew 17:20

    How our faith can waver sometimes. It seems like the slightest hint of worry or discord can shake our quivering faith.

    Have you ever realized that your faith is not as deep as you thought it was? On this journey, we all encounter times when we feel as though we’re in over our heads, lacking resolve and fortitude. It will take us to places where we find ourselves questioning everything and reaching for God—who seems to have gone silent.

    Have you been to this place?

    I remember when I first learned to swim. My parents would take me into deep water, where my feet couldn’t touch bottom. Then they let go and stepped back out of reach. I remember a momentary feeling of panic. The saving hands were no longer there, and I struggled to keep my head above water. I remember reaching out my arms while kicking my feet to reach safety again. Without realizing it, I began to swim by myself for the first time.

    It wasn’t my intention to swim. My intention was to reach the safe arms of my parents, who were just out of reach. There is growth within tension and fear. Growth that can only take place when we are left to our own devices. Growth that can only happen within the turmoil of our faith journey.

    It’s as if God steps back, and we are left to face the deep alone. So we step out, unsure of ourselves, unsure if we can reach the safe arms of Christ again. But the truth is we are not alone.

    Remember Peter walking on the water to Jesus? He steps out of the boat into a turbulent, uncertain space. He takes a couple of steps, then loses sight of Jesus and begins to sink. He must have remembered that what he was doing was impossible, and as the doubt sinks in, so does Peter.

    We often chastise Peter, the “rock,” for his lack of faith. We often write sermons about this passage to point out his lack of resolve. But where were the other disciples? Do we read about their steps of faith on the water? No. They were still in the boat watching it all go down.

    We need to get out of the boat.

    We all encounter times in our faith journey where we feel as if we are all alone—but we are not alone. God steps back and watches us as we confront the tension of deeper waters. But it is within those deeper waters that we grow. It is through perseverance that our character is formed, and we become more like Christ.

    Some turn back and return to the safe places. Some give up because they feel abandoned. Those who persevere will grow. The Lord desires all of us to deepen our faith, and so these times are opportunities to grow into this amazing faith.

    Being like Jesus isn’t easy. It takes determination on our part. Are you prepared to allow God to deepen your faith? Is it your desire to stop relying on spiritual baby formula and begin to feast on more sustainable spiritual nourishment? Take that next step. Don’t be afraid. He’s got you.

    Captain Scott Strissel is the divisional youth secretary and divisional candidates’ secretary in the Midland Division, USA Central Territory. He blogs at pastorsponderings.org.

    Photo: Imgorthand/E+ via Getty Images

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