Going over to the other side. This is the invitation Jesus gives to his disciples before they got into the boat. I am sure the disciples had been to the other side of the sea before this invitation of the Lord. However Jesus is inviting his followers to walk with him to a different place than what they were used to.
Moving into new areas and situations that are not familiar or foreign to us is a hard. Look into the life of David pictured in the story. David was a young shepherd. He was not trained in war techniques. He has his friends and family in the military. He knows the pain they go through and sadness it brings into the family and community he is part of. He is also aware of the devastation a war causes and the future it destroys. He preferred to tend the flocks and then go on with life.
But today he feels an inner call to walk to the other side of life that he is not familiar with. He is urged to move to an area that is not comfortable and outright scary. He is left with some choices just like the apostles who were asked to go on to the other side of the lake, to get into the boat or stay back on the shore.
It is fascinating that always when God invites us, either we can get into the boat or stay back on the shore. Getting in to the boat even with God does not mean that it is going to be an easy ride. It could be a tumultuous one as it happened to his disciples. Here they are hoping for the best in the journey, but struck with the worst of the storm. And the one who invited, and seemingly the one with power, is sleeping away as if it is not his problem. Getting into boat with God is not easy, because many times, it feels like God is sleeping away and not concerned. It feels like God invited you to get in with him, so that you can take control of the situations in life and he can go to sleep. It feels God is tired. It feels like Jesus needs rest. He gives the impression that you are the one to take charge. Getting into boat with Christ is not an easy thing to do. Let me assure you. Here you see David getting into boat with God onto the other side to face Goliath. The Lord seemed to be sleeping. Others seemed to be ridiculing him and even his opponent made fun of him. But then there is something telling about David. This is the weapon he takes.
He stoops down in the river. He gets closer to the water and waits, looks for the best five pebbles to use to bring down the Goliath. He carefully collects his weapon. He pulls out his slingshot. He informs the opponent that he is not interested in his idle threats. He aims at the giant and throws the shot. All is done.
Not one time was he worried about the Goliath in front of him. Not one time was he out of focus with what it is that he needs to do. Not one time did he give into the fear of the mammoth man in front of him. Not one time was he afraid of what awaits. But simply on one thing did he focus on: Collect the best five pebbles from the shore. That is the key. Collect the best five pebbles to bring down the giant that you face.
Yes. This is the ultimate victory for those who were in the boat with Jesus. They pulled the best pebble to bring down the storm. They pulled Jesus out of his slumber. They, unlike David, was afraid of all that happens around them. But still in their fear, in front of the giant of the storm that comes head-on, they picked up the pebble of life and power: Jesus.
There is no easy way to meet the giants in our lives. David had plenty of them along the way before and after he became the king. Just because he chose the best pebbles in life did not mean he got the kingdom poured into hands the next day. He waited, ran for life, hid himself in the holes and finally triumphed into glory. But still it was not over. He got messed up with Bathsheba and faced another kind of a giant. But then took the slingshot of repentance. The story of facing giants in the life of David goes on and on. And so do we find the same in the lives of Apostles. Just because they knew how to wake up Christ when needed does not mean, they could get him up every time they wanted him up and ready for action. They had to collect their share of smooth pebbles to meet with the giants of daily life.
In making all these comparisons between David and the Apostles, all I am trying to say is this, Giants in life are real and many times they take different shapes and forms. While for David it was Goliath and many of such kinds, for Apostles it was in the form of a storm, fear, faithlessness, anxiety, denial, and more. We are in the camp of the Apostles most of the times than of David. We all need a set of five pebbles of power and strength to face the goliaths of life. What are these five pebbles?
The pebble of faith, that God is on your side. And for that reason, you need just one God for every situation.
The pebble of family and relationships; a great help when unable to get the Christ awake at times.
The pebble of truth, that at all times we will have the right armor to fight with than those that will weigh us down. Remember David had to let go of all the armors Saul had over him to hold tight to the one truth, God on his side.
The pebble of humility, an armor that penetrates the hardest of all hearts and situations.
And finally hold fast to a pebble of courage to face all life.
And one slingshot; the slingshot that blazes through all obstacles of life, The Slingshot of Prayer.
In short, do not be afraid of storms. Just learn how to sail. And all will be well. Take Christ along the way and a few pebbles to play with. All will come in handy when faced with a giant that cannot be overcome otherwise.