Summary: There is no failure for those who step out in faith. The only failure is when we live in fear and do not follow God.
Faith, Fear, and Failure
How willing are you to take a step of faith into the unknown? Are you a person who like to play it safe, get all your ducks lined up in a row, do your pro-con sheet and then timidly step forward, or are you someone who enjoys the thrill of jumping out into uncharted territory?
Martin Luther wrote: “God, our Father, has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.”
If you see yourself as someone who likes to play it safe, let me say this: God is not looking for extraordinary daredevils who foolishly take risks for the thrill of it. He is looking for ordinary people who count the cost, and then willingly venture out into the unknown because they have heard the call of God and have confidence that God will hold them up.
It only takes a mustard seed faith, a little faith in a Great God to please God. And all of us in this room have that mustard seed of faith. There isn’t one person in this room who doesn’t have some measure of faith. Let me give some very common examples:
a) Any man in this room who has ever kissed a girl knows the fear and anxiety of the moment of that first kiss. But the desire to kiss the girl compels men to push through the fear, the sweaty palms, and the possibility of rejection to go ahead and lean forward for that first kiss.
b) Any man or woman who has stood at an altar before God and their friends to take a vow of marriage knows what it means to take a leap of faith into the unknown world of matrimony. There was no guarantee of success, and no previous experience to calm the fear, but couples take this leap because they are in love and they want to be married. We will step out in faith when we really want something.
c) Anyone who has ever gone on a job interview, or taken a new position has demonstrated faith despite their fear and uncertainty. You needed and wanted work and so you went through the very scary interview process. That took faith.
d) Anyone who has ever tried out for a sports team or auditioned for a music group has had to take a leap of faith that their efforts would be rewarded and that they wouldn’t be rejected. Especially if they had to face Simon Cowell.
I could give many more examples, the point I am trying to make is this: Only those who take a risk, a step of faith, and move out into uncharted territory enjoy the blessings that this life have to offer.
Eileen Guder wrote: “You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer, drink no tea or coffee or other stimulants, in the name of health; go to bed early and stay away from night life; avoid all controversial subjects so as never to give offense; mind your own business and avoid involvement in other people’s problems, spend money only on necessities and save all you can. You can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”
Theme: There is no failure in faith because only faith can please God!
Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home. Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost. But Jesus spoke to them at once. "It’s all right," he said. "I am here! Don’t be afraid."
Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water."
"All right, come," Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.
Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. "You don’t have much faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed. Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus and the disciples have just spent an entire day ministering to the masses of people. Jesus had demonstrated His compassion for the crowds and His power over nature by feeding everyone who was present with just a few fishes and loaves of bread. But earlier that day, Jesus had heard the disturbing news that John the Baptist, his cousin, had been brutally murdered by Herod. So Jesus sends his disciples on ahead while He takes some much needed time to be in prayer.