A Heart That Doesn't Sink

I couldn’t believe we’d done it.

Wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into, I tossed and turned all night. My sleep deprived brain rolled worst-case scenarios before my eyes—all of which ended in horrible catastrophe.

That’s right. We had booked our first cruise.

My husband desperately needed rest and fun; he had always wanted to go. I was the hold up. I struggled with cruise-fear, severe motion sickness, and not being a fan of huge crowds.

Yet after finding a great deal, my fate was sealed. So I did what any desperate woman would do. I prayed. I asked God for simple things—that He would help me not be afraid and not throw up. {Do you sometimes pray super-spiritual prayers like that, too?}

No sooner had I said Amen than I sensed God calming my fears. As I sat in my prayer chair and breathed in His presence, supernatural peace buoyed my heart. Deep down, I sensed that everything was going to be fine.

Then I had to actually step onto the ship. Without wailing, fainting, or throwing up. Hyper aware that the only thing between me and certain death was a hull of steel (why ships do not sink is beyond me…) my faith was put to the test. Especially the night a major storm hit.

Tossed awake at 3am by the ship’s severe rocking, I struggled to get to the bathroom without slamming into our cabin walls. Our bath towels defied gravity, bizarrely swaying straight out against my arms. 50 M.P.H. winds beat 20 foot seas against the ship. And fear hammered against my heart.

Sometimes, like Peter stepping out of the boat, we step out in courage. We absolutely know we can do this. Then the winds pick up. The whitecaps swell. And even though the Lord is right in front of us, our focus bounces between Him and the waves.

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (NLT)

Gusts of fear blow our faith like so much sea foam; we lose our focus, and our hearts sink. Sometimes all we can see are the waves.

Waves of opposition.

Waves of confusion.

Waves of uncertainty.

Waves of fear.

That’s when, like Peter, we cry out, “Save me, Lord!” And Jesus, who is always there, answers us: “Why did you doubt me?”

Why do we doubt Jesus?

Why do we take our eyes off of Him? Why do we allow our hearts to sink? Why do the waves seem more massive than the One who controls the earth’s tides?

God never promised our lives would be storm-free. But He did promise to be with us and help us.

Fear not, there is nothing to fear, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness. (Isaiah 41:10)

That terrifying night, God’s grace trumped fear. It trumped 50 mph winds. And it trumped all-out panic. I locked eyes with Jesus instead of the waves. And I said No to fear. Out loud. Because sometimes that’s what a woman has to do to prevent her heart from sinking.

We can say No to fear and Yes to the Prince of Peace. And then Jesus does this supernatural thing—He fills us with amazing peace—even in the middle of 20-foot waves.

That night I actually snuggled back into our little cabin bed and slept soundly.

The truth is His presence, grace and peace gives us hearts that don’t sink. It's then that we realize winds of opposition, confusion, uncertainty and fear are never bigger than our King. And we never, ever face them alone.
Lord, I’m grateful that I never faces stormy seas alone, and that You are bigger than every storm. Help me to lock eyes with You instead of focusing on the waves around me. Help me never to doubt you. Strengthen me and be with me through every storm. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Charlene said...

Thanks for this. I always love reading your encouraging words, pointing us to The One who matters most.

Bonita said...

Thank you, Julie. My daughter leaves for two months in Uganda later this week and I've been hit with waves of anxiety recently, especially at night. Deep in my heart, I know she will not only be fine, but God will do great things in and through her, but the mom part of me still has to look to Jesus for all the little moments of fear. This was a good reminder to do just that.

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Bonita, I so get that! Our daughter has been to the Dominican Republic several times, and EVERY single time I have to commit her into God's hands (yet again) and TRUST that He knows what He is doing. Being a mom is hard!! I just prayed for your sweet girl, that the Lord will cover and protect her and keep you in peace the entire time she's gone. ((Hugs))

Unknown said...

Blessed by your email and pray GOD continues to use you for HIS Glory!!!

Giselle said...

Great blog, I enjoyed reading it.

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