”Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard Him say, ‘It is the Lord, he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat. Towing the net full of fish for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.” (John 21:7-8)
Living in Florida all my life has had many advantages, one of which has been I have always been with-in driving distance to the beach. I can remember many summer vacations growing up spent on the beach, enjoying the fun of the playing in the waves, building sand castles and looking for shells.
One summer, however, I learned that the ocean could also bring fear, and that I was never to underestimate its power. I was only twelve at the time, and we had gone on our annual camping trip with my family. My sister, a friend of ours and I were all in the ocean on a float, only about a hundred yards off shore, when my mother called from the shore telling us it was time to come in, as the sun was beginning to set and it was time for dinner.
We smiled and waved and started kicking our little legs to propel us toward shore, only to find the more we kicked the further from shore we were. We soon realized we were caught in a rip tide! My sister and I knew what to do as we had been taught by our parents to swim down parallel or under the tide then once out to shore. Our problem was our friend was not a good swimmer.
By this time my mother was quite mad–not knowing what was happening, thought we were just being disobedient. So we decided I would jump off the float, and swim under the water and the rip tide to the shore. I could hold my breath quite well then. Then I could let our mom know so we could get the help that was needed.
So I did, and once on shore my mother and a lifeguard were able to get my sister and friend to safety. (However my mom’s permanent she had just gotten was really a mess! Ha-ha.) This experience taught me to respect and to realize how powerful the ocean can be, and how grateful I was for the safety of that shoreline as well as my mother’s open arms.
When I read this scripture, I thought about how Peter, when he knew who it was that was on the shore, jumped right out of the boat, so anxious to get to shore. Knowing that the one who gave him peace, joy, love, salvation was there just a short distance away.
What about us, would we jump out of the boat, across the street or even get up out of our seat at church to go to the alter? Just to acknowledge that Jesus is the one we need, the only one who can offer us peace, hope and ultimately salvation. So often we allow the “rip tides” in our lives to pull us away from our Lord. It may be our illness, it may be finances, or it could be something else, like hurt feelings from remarks said by others.
Today I encourage you, jump out of the boat, swim, wade, walk run do whatever you need to, but don’t delay. Jesus is there waiting on shore for you to join Him. Go! enjoy His peace, comfort and love. He stands there with open arms waiting for you!
Prayer: Father, today let us remember how truly blessed we are that You are always there on the shore, All we need to do is get out of the boat. Amen.
About the author:
Diane Kalata lives in Florida. She has three grown children, and a wonderful husband who offers much support. She enjoys leading a women’s bible study group as well as a chronic pain and illness support group. She enjoys art as well. She is a colon cancer survivor; she has chronic irritable bowl and fibromyalgia as well as other digestive issues. But her greatest joy is encouraging and sharing with others all that God has done in her life and continues to do.
Can you think of a time you were willing to get out of the boat, even though you were fearful? What was the result? Does it encourage you even now when you are fearful of the future?
This song is “Let the Waters Rise” by Mikeschair (When the band couldn’t come up with a name, they were in their dormroom and named it after one of their ‘chairs.’) This is a terrific song about how the waters can rise but we will choose to follow Jesus, the perfect video to accompany Diane’s devotional. Hoping it blesses you, -Lisa