When you drive into Texas, these signs say, “Don’t mess with Texas.” One reason might be the weather in Texas! And, you know, if you just watch the national weather on any given day from spring into the fall and you’re likely to see the color red. That’s for severe thunderstorms or possible tornadoes. Our son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter were driving across the Texas panhandle one spring day, and sure enough, they drove into one of those really nasty weather fronts. Amarillo, Texas, was behind them. New Mexico was ahead of them. The sky was featuring that special shade of tornadic green. The rain was torrential and the clouds were growing those little fingers, you know, that sometimes turn into tornadoes. Our son decided it was time to call his brother and see what the Internet was saying about this weather. His question: “Shall I keep going or turn back to Amarillo?” The answer: “Just keep going, man. Twenty more miles and you’ll be in bright sunshine!”
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “When it Looks Like You Should Turn Back.”
It could be that your journey right now is taking you through a very dark and stormy time. There’s danger, there’s apprehension, there’s questions about which way to go, and turning back or bailing out looks like it might be the way to go. But your Father in heaven can see the whole road, and today He’s saying to you, “Just keep going. Drive a few more miles and you’ll start to see the sunshine!”
The danger is that you’ll turn back just before the breakthrough; just before the answer to your prayers. There’s a vivid, real-life example of what that looks like in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 14, beginning with verse 24. Jesus has sent His disciples on ahead of Him. They’re crossing the unpredictable Sea of Galilee in a boat when suddenly their boat is being “buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” “Buffeted by the waves.” Does that sound like a fair description of how you feel right now?
The Bible goes on to tell us that “during the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified … But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’ ‘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, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?'”
You started down the road you’re on by faith, counting on Jesus to get you there. And, like Peter, the wind and the rain and the waves are brutal right now. So you’ve stopped focusing on Jesus and you started focusing on your fears or what you can do, and you’re sinking. People criticize Peter for losing faith, but excuse me, he’s the only one who even had enough faith to even get out of the boat. But, sadly, it was what I call “halfway there” faith; enough faith to get you halfway there.
It’s not the storm that’s going to sink you. It’s going to be “halfway there” faith. If you decide what you’re going to do based on the situation, based on what you can see, based on what you’re feeling, you’ll almost surely make a bad decision. It was Jesus who got you out of the boat in the first place. It was Jesus who helped you walk on water this far. And it will be Jesus who gets you the rest of the way there. So get your focus back on Him! His word is, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
It’s dark now, I know. But don’t doubt in the darkness what God told you in the light. He knows what you’re going through, but He also knows what’s ahead. And listen, He’s telling you, “Keep going, man! Before long, you’ll be in the sunshine!”