1 month ago

When Our Faith Fails

When Our Faith Fails

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” -Matthew 14:22-31

I was swallowing more water than air and floating down the rapid backwards. Not being able to see behind me brought in a crippling fear over me, and I thought I was going to drown. 

But I didn’t drown. In fact there was no way for me to really drown, unless I got sucked into a hole beneath a rock, which was impossible since the rapid was barely a class 2. 

Nevertheless, the fear that came during my floating through the rapid had already grabbed a hold of my mind, and for the next 18 hours, I was overcome with a crippling anxiety at the thought of my returning to the rapids the next day. 

Thoughts of death bombarded my mind as I believed the lie of the enemy that assured me of my impending death during the next day’s class 4/5 rapid trip.  In my mind, I had just barely survived the class 2, there was no way I would survive a class 4/5, which had more risks of falling overboard. 

I couldn’t sleep that night partly because I thought bears would come and eat us (Stories from friends camping trips and their near death encounter with bears were to blame for that) and because I knew the next morning I would be boarding a raft for a 14 mile rapid trip. 

By the time the morning arrived, I had made up my mind that I would convince my husband of our ending our trip early. I knew this would be an almost impossible feat because my husband does not leave money on the table for any reason…and he would want to get his money’s worth for the trip he paid.

After breakfast, I spoke with my husband and I told him of my great idea that would save our lives. He didn’t know how to swim, so naturally I reminded him of that fact and let him know that if he fell out of the boat it would be very dangerous. He of course did not buy any of it, and assured me that everything would be ok. We wouldn’t die and it would be one of the most memorable days of our lives. 

Had I been on this vacation by myself I would have booked it, but the thought of him falling overboard and my not being able to pull him back into the raft was stronger than my facing the possibility of drowning. So I put on my rafting gear and walked towards the river below our camping ground.

Still riddled with fear I prayed the most honest prayer I have ever prayed:

“Lord, this is your river. I am afraid and not as brave as I thought I was. But you Lord are the King of everything and you control this river, and if I fall, I know that you will pull me out of the water like you pulled Peter out of the ocean.”

Although we had many close encounters, (including our rapid crashing straight into a tree and almost sinking) thanks to the Lord and our awesome guides, six hours later we emerged from the final rapid unharmed.

My husband and I made it home safely and that night, as I took in all that had transpired in the last 48 hours I couldn’t help but thank God for his faithfulness even in my lack of faith.

I had never experienced anxiety as I had experienced the previous day. It was by far the darkest experience of my life. The shadow of my believed impending death was so real to me that I couldn’t see any light or hope of my survival. The idea that the enemy had implanted in me, had edged out my knowledge of who God was and instead replaced it with my weakness and fear.

But God’s word can never truly be shut out by darkness, and an unbelieving Peter on the sea of Galilee became my anchor to who God was when we come to the end of our perceived strength.

Today, I want to encourage you to grab a hold of God’s hand and face the fear that plagues you. Maybe it’s a fear of heights or maybe it’s a fear of failing, whatever you are afraid to do, do it. Ask a loved one to be your support, pray an honest prayer to the Lord and face the lie the enemy has made you believe.

We may not be as brave as we thought we were, but God’s strength is greater than we will ever know. Ask him to enter into your crippling fear and/or anxious mind, He is strong when you are weak. This is the truth that will always rise above every situation and lie of the enemy.

<3 Ruby E. Dieguez

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