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By Josh Gerard

Why is it so hard to trust God? In Matthew 14 we read about Jesus walking on the water. The disciples were also in the water in a boat and one of them, Peter, actually stepped out of the boat to walk to Jesus. Peter trusted that if Jesus told him to come to Him that the water would support his weight. And as long as Peter’s eyes were focused on Jesus, it did. But when Peter’s eyes focused on the waves, Jesus had to extend a hand to keep His disciple from drowning. I think of how ridiculous Peter was. Who’s going to worry about some silly waves when Jesus is right in front of you? If He wants you there, you should know that everything is going to be all right.

It’s easy to think this way until that moment you find your own foot touch the water’s surface. After many years of serving as an associate pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I felt Jesus calling my family to a small-town ministry in Iowa. My wife and I spent a year in prayer and preparation for the transition. The timing was terrible. The housing market dropped, and we were told it was not the time to sell. We stepped out of the boat anyway, leaving behind stable jobs, a supportive community, and a house that wouldn’t sell for several months. Our feet touched down on a shaky surface seemingly without even a promise of stability.

After I helped my family settle in Iowa, I returned to Tulsa for one more week in fulfillment of various ministry obligations. The move had vastly strained our finances, but we trusted that God was faithful. I trusted right up until I saw the wind and the waves. A couple of big, unexpected expenditures on a car along with our unsold house wiped us out completely. Two bills were left to be paid out in the upcoming week that would create a $150 hole in our bank account. As a person who has always worked hard to pay bills promptly, this was the first wave, and I realized it would be followed by another and another. I remember asking God why He had asked us to chart this course if it was going to lead us to financial ruin. I had trusted God when I stepped out of the boat, but now all I could see were the waves. O me of little faith.

In a frantic phone call to my wife, I let her know that we were financially sinking. She agreed that the situation was not ideal but encouraged me to pray and trust God. My flesh rolled its eyes at this suggestion because, hey, waves! Don’t you see the waves? But I shut my eyes, cried out, and asked for God’s divine intervention because what had seemed easy no longer was. We chose not to engage our prayer circle because we were embarrassed and felt a little stupid at what I deemed to be rampant fiscal irresponsibility. We told God and no one else.

The next day I gathered the last of our belongings and prepared to join my family in Iowa. For reasons I did not yet understand, the doubt and worry I had felt so strongly the night before had evaporated. As I got into my car, I received a phone call from my sister who lived nearby. She said she wanted to meet me and say goodbye before I left. We met at a McDonald’s parking lot and she slipped an envelope into my hands. When I asked her what it was for, she said she felt God wanted me to have it. I looked inside and there was $150.

So it’s not fair for me to think Peter silly for his lack of faith when he accepted Jesus’ invitation. I still work at trusting God even though the ground seems slightly more stable now than it did ten years ago when I accepted the invitation to go to Iowa. I had taken only a few steps before my doubt stepped in. But as the water began to surround me, His hand was right there calling me out, reminding me to trust.

About the Author

Gerard author photo-cropJosh Gerard is the pastor of New Beginnings, an Open Bible church in Brooklyn, Iowa.

About The Author

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