Pursuing the American Dream had lost its luster. I was ready to die to it and commit fully to the Lord’s work. Not to mention, the idea of living in a foreign land and learning a new culture held great appeal, much more than the rat race I found myself in. No more! We were going to live on the edge, be pioneers and enjoy some adventure.
The enthusiasm I experienced early on was suddenly drowned out by sheer panic. I began asking myself, “Do you really know what you’re doing?” I may not have been the only one asking that question. Others surely must have thought I was crazy. After all, I was uprooting my family, moving thousands of miles away from the familiar to the unknown. We would no longer rely on regular paychecks, but live by faith. We would say goodbye to our comfortable house in the suburbs and everything else we worked so hard for. Our new life would begin in a 700 square-foot flat – in a land where we didn’t even speak the language. Then there were the many goodbyes we weren’t prepared for.
It literally brought me to my knees one day. I found myself bawling my eyes out. I was totally honest with God. “I’m scared,” I confessed. “I don’t have the faith for this. If you are truly calling me, I need help.” That’s when it happened. A blanket of peace swept over me – a peace that surpasses all understanding. His peace! And from that moment on, I never looked back. The peace of God girded me every step of the way. I found perfect rest in Him.
Obviously, there is a trust factor involved, and it’s hard to trust someone you don’t know. For example, you’re not going to trust every doctor listed in the phonebook. You may want to know their credentials and track record first. Even if all that checks out, you may still have reservations upon that initial visit. As you become more familiar with the good doctor your trust level increases. With trust comes rest, knowing you’ll be well cared for.
Christ and apostles in the storm
However, He does have an impressive history and an excellent track record. And He truly cares for us! He has also made it possible for us to know Him personally and intimately through Jesus Christ. Perhaps you do know Him, but you have difficulty trusting Him. This is why so many lack rest. It all comes down to lack of trust. Why is this? They just don’t know the Lord well enough. They need to become better acquainted with Him.
This surely was the case with the apostles. Even they had trust issues with the Lord. As familiar as they were with Jesus, they didn’t know Him as well as they thought. When the storms came, they completely forgot whom Jesus was. Do you recall their little boat excursion? Matthew tells us that while a great tempest arose on the sea, Jesus was at rest – sleeping. What about that dubious dozen? They were in an absolute state of panic! “Wake up, Jesus!” they cried. “We’re dying out here!” Our Lord responded, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26)
What causes fear is a lack of trust, or as Jesus put it – little faith. The apostles couldn’t rest in the storm simply because they didn’t trust Jesus. They doubted Him because they didn’t really know Him. However, to their credit, the desire was there. Once Jesus calmed the wind and the sea they asked, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27) This is the God we must get to know, the one that even the winds and sea obey. And there is no place to become better acquainted with Him than in the storm.
Therefore, we must make it our utmost desire to know Him more! This is where we cross the chasm from the so-so life to the abundant life. Otherwise, we remain in a perpetual rut. Christianity is reduced to ho-hum, mundane religion. What pulls us from a mediocre existence is nearness to our loving Creator. And nowhere is near enough to Him. The flame must be consistently fanned to draw closer each day. And with nearness comes trust, and with trust comes rest.
Sunday Morning at 9:30 & 11:30am
Wednesday Evening at 7:00
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660