The First Step 

Hello 2022! I don’t know about you, but I was ready to turn the page and greet this new year. There is something about a new year, fresh starts and the opportunities that lie ahead. It can be overwhelming, but they can also be an invitation to walk in a new way, a new direction or in new steps of faith. But, sometimes fear or lack of trust may keep us from taking that first step. We can’t see what is ahead, but we know that moving forward requires action on our part. 

The apostle Peter knows all about taking steps of faith. We find one of those moments in Matthew 14:22-26, we find the story of Jesus walking on water. They had just fed the five thousand people and the disciples had been sent out by boat ahead of Jesus while he dismissed the crowds. Jesus then went up the mountain by himself to pray. The boat was now some distance from the land, the wind had become strong and the waves were crashing against the boat. 

At that moment, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. The disciples were terrified. He spoke to them saying, “Don’t be afraid, take courage. I am here!” Peter then calls to Jesus saying, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus immediately spoke to them saying, “Yes, come.” So Peter got out of the boat and took his first steps toward Jesus. Everything was fine until the strength of the wind caused Peter to feel afraid again. He took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. 

As I reflect on this story, I notice that Jesus came toward them. He made the first move. He moves toward us long before we take that first step toward Him. When we experience storms and the waves of life crash against us, Jesus moves toward us, calling out, saying, “Don’t be afraid, I am here.” And just like Peter, we want to know if it’s really Him before we make our move. 

When we are being called to take a new first step, we want to be sure of who it is calling us and if it’s the right move in the right direction. We want certainty, but this step requires trust and faith in what we cannot see. We may not have Jesus standing right in front of us, but we have the Holy Spirit to help us discern our next steps. Sometimes we may choose to move immediately, like Peter did, and sometimes we hesitate. We walk by faith and not sight in obedience to His call, or we stay where we are in disobedience. Either way, we must choose. 

So, as 2022 begins, are you being called out of the boat? What first step are you being called to make? Will you choose to step forward in faith, or stay in the safety of your own boat? We all must choose. 

Your fellow sojourner, Jennifer Thomas 

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