If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat

If You Want to Walk on Water . . . (Zondervan, 2001)

John Ortberg’s book is based on Matthew 14: 25-32, when Peter waited for Jesus’ command before he walked on water to meet Jesus.  The author states that Matthew’s account is not just a story about taking risks, but primarily is a story of obedience and courage, which must be accompanied by wisdom and discernment.

“Boat”, as defined by Pastor Ortberg, represents whatever gives you safety and security apart from God- or what produces the most fear in you when you contemplate doing it.  The choice is between risk and comfort, but the ‘safety’ of comfort may not be the wisest option.  Risk is putting yourself in position to grow.

In taking your first step out of the boat, the author recommends asking this question: “What am I doing in my life that I could not do apart from the power of God?”  All you need is mustard seed faith and the desire to know God better.  Water-walking is all about what God longs to do with you.

Trusting God is foundational to water-walking.  Just as Peter waited in the boat for Jesus to tell him to walk on water, our waiting on the Lord as we revision our calling is excruciatingly difficult.  Pastor Ortberg lists several characteristics that will help us walk in faith as the Lord transforms us:

1.  resiliency- being actively involved in our situation, having moral courage, finding purpose and meaning in our suffering.

2.  true courage- where the yes of faith overcomes the no of fear.

The author emphasizes that adversity can be the most wonderful time of all to know that you are loved by God.  Indeed, trusting God may be the only thing you can do.

We remain focused on Christ’s presence during the storm by having the ability to live in hope and patiently wait as we become what God wants us to be.

About the author

Dave Henning


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