Fear and Faith on the Dock By Crystal Schmalz
I sat on the end of the dock and felt the cool wind on my face. The clouds were gray and fluffy. The sun was barely shining through the clouds. I sat alone for a while and thought about life and ministry.
While I was sitting on the dock, I thought about going out on the boat. I looked at the shinning water and thought about the story in the Bible where Peter walked on the water with Jesus. I thought about the courage and faith Peter must have had. I wondered about my own walk with Jesus. I thought about my own faith, and the “stepping out” process into ministry. I remember what it was like to get my license, to name my calling for the first time, and to feel the fear of the unknown. I remember that paralyzing fear, the kind of fear which knots up in your stomach. I felt that when I left my home and traveled hundreds of miles away to a new city. I felt that fear when I went to interviews and meetings. But every step of the way, God provided. Every step of the way, if I kept my eyes on Jesus, I was walking with him on the water. Yes there was fear, but there was also faith. Faith pulled me forward.
As my toes reached toward the water I felt the chilly breeze. I sat on the edge of the dock looking out across the waters. I felt the cool air. I looked at the waves as they pushed the cold water toward the edge of the land. I thought about the story where Jesus calmed the storm, and asked the disciples about their fear and faith. I thought about how even though the disciples spent hours and hours with Jesus, they did not know who he was. They did not realize his entire power and strength. They still had their doubts and fears. Jesus asked them “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Then I thought about my life, and wondered about my fear and my faith. Where is my faith? Who do I place my trust in? In a society where so many place it in self, it seems strange to deny self and place trust in Jesus. The wind hit me, and I felt too chilled. I ran back into the cabin and grabbed a hoodie and some socks. I walked back out to the edge of the dock. Sometimes we are not always prepared for the cold. Sometimes it hits us in the face without much notice. It often leaves us feeling a little dismayed and at times overwhelmed.
As I walked back to the dock, I thought about what a dock was and the preparation before launching out on a boat. It takes a lot of courage to get to the dock. In my case, it took several hours to drive to the cabin and the lake. I packed a lot of stuff, as most girls do! The dock is the place where you go right before the launch. It can be difficult to load up a boat without a dock. The dock I was sitting on was shaky when I walked to the end of it. The dock is a temporary space. People are never meant to stay on the dock. The dock prepares you for the boat ride.
Preparing to be a leader can take a long time. I have been in ministry since I was twelve years old in some form or fashion. My home church always taught me to serve and work hard in ministry. Now I am in my thirties and still preparing for ministry. I am always learning more about God and leadership. I often feel like it takes forever to see some promises come to pass. I remember when I was waiting to meet someone to marry. It seemed like it took forever. I was really impatient. It is not easy to wait. There are certain seasons in life and in my preparation as a leader which have not been easy.
Some seasons in life have caused frustration and tension. I have not always trusted the plan. I have at times wanted to know the future. “God, what does the end of the story look like? Where are you taking us? Are you listening God? Are you still here?” I have wanted to launch the boat faster than the dock would allow. Sometimes I want to just jump onto the boat and start the engine. I rarely think about packing a lunch and water, bringing supplies, and getting ready for the boat ride. I just want to be on the boat. I want everything now! Anyone know the feeling? Anyone feel the tension?
It is hard to take a boat out on the water when the winds are raging and strong. There are certain times when boat riding is better, like when it is sunny, warm, and the waters are calm. There are even different types of boats for different weather conditions (sailboats, pontoons, speed boats, fishing boats, house boats, etc.). I always want to ride on the speedboat, but sometimes God puts me on the slow pontoon. I’ve learned a lot of my frustration comes from a lack of trust in the process. God wants us to BE on the journey. God wants us to BE and not be so concerned with doing and getting to the finish line.
There have been a lot of times when I have felt like I was sailing in raging wind. I’ve never been sailing, but I imagine it would be thrilling to tackle the wind. In life however, I never like the whole sailing part. I don’t like pushing against the wind. I want the easy path at times. I wish everyone just accepted women in ministry and leadership. I wish I could attend every conference . I wish I could be in more than one place at a time. I wish I could be involved in everything. The fact is that I cannot have all of this. There are boundaries and limits. Each of us have limitations, and these limitations allow us to be productive in our callings and ministry. Do not be angry at the boundaries, because the boundaries will keep you sane.
I’m not exactly sure where you are in your journey in leadership. You might be walking toward the dock, on the dock, on the boat, in the raging storms, or on the dry land. No matter where you are, trust the process. Trust in God, because all the promises will come to pass. Take a look at your story and look for your faith and your fears. Are you walking with Jesus? Are you trusting?
Mark 4: 35-41 Jesus Calms a Storm
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Copyright 2015 Crystal Schmalz Ministries