Toby Mac is heard in my car a lot. I don’t enjoy much “kid’s music” besides some classic Disney, so I try to find music that both I and my kids can enjoy at the same time. Toby Mac happens to be a favorite of mine and of my kids. JP regularly asks for “Mac Daddy”–his name not just for the title of one of Toby Mac’s songs, but for Toby Mac himself. Therefore, it’s no surprise that “Beyond Me,” a song on Toby Mac’s latest cd was recently playing in my car. I wish I could quote it here, but I can’t without going on the wrong side of copyright laws.
In the song, though, he talks about how God calls him to tasks more difficult than he can handle, using lots of apt metaphors to describe the feeling. It makes me think of another song I love, Hillsong United’s “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).” This last song is very popular, and I think I know why. Besides the fact that it is beautifully written and sung, I think the words hit us in a tender place, express a feeling we understand. God often does call us to places where we feel like we’re going to drown.
Can you picture Peter getting out of that boat in the middle of the staggering waves in the sea of Galilee, the contrary wind whipping his hair, walking toward Jesus–the Man who has just called him to do so in answer to his request? Peter does it for a few steps, but then takes his eyes off of Jesus and puts them instead on the effects of the wind and starts to sink, calling desperately out to Jesus for help (Matt. 14:23-33). Does this sound familiar to you?
It does to me. I sing songs like “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” in times of relative safety and comfort, sincerely asking Jesus to call me out on the water like He did with Peter. Then He does, and I step out, only to get frightened of what I’ve gotten myself into this time, and cry out to Jesus for help. Thankfully, despite my lack of faith, He does instantly reach out to help me as He helped Peter–He was there all along, after all.
Last August, after much prayer, Greg and I stepped out by moving to Texas, a place we felt God was leading us, at least for the time being. We moved into a house we felt led to after we prayed about it quite a bit. Although I miss Tennessee and my friends there, I’ve really enjoyed my new city, neighborhood, house, and friends here so far. However, it hasn’t been a perfectly calm sea. Waves have been splashing into our boat some. I took on an ESL teaching job a month ago to help with the unexpected higher cost of living, and I’ve just been hired for another ESL job I’ll be starting in a few weeks. It’s still part-time work, but with the full-time job of homeschooling on top of it and the fact that Greg is also overworked, it can feel overwhelming, like I will barely keep my head above water, much less walk freely on top of it all.
But isn’t this where He wants us to be…walking on the water with Him, our face to Him and calling out to Him?
When life feels fairly under control, I’m a lot less likely to fully depend on God. I start to think I’ve got it on my own. When I had one child, I thought, “Babies are easy! Let’s have another one right away!” Then I had my second and from that time on, I had to either turn to God for help daily or fail as a parent and drown in the waters.
We shouldn’t purposefully take something on that is way more than we can handle without consulting Him first, but God often calls us to tasks beyond ourselves in order for us to realize what we should have known even in the easier times…we need Him. He loves us dearly and wants us to realize this truth and trust Him in our deep waters.
We cry out, “”But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay” (Ps. 70:5).
And He answers, “ ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand…For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you’ ” (Isa. 41:10,13).