When our kids had a break from school over the summer, we would typically go on vacation to a sandy beach along the ocean’s coast. Our children, being younger and smaller, would play in the shallow water; running and splashing each other, looking for shells, and building sand castles. They weren’t strong enough yet to venture into deeper water where they couldn’t touch the bottom because the waves would topple them over or they would drown since they didn’t how to swim well enough. So, in the shallows they stayed, where it was safe, fun, and the sandy bottom was visible.

As our kids got stronger in their swimming skills, and learned of the ebb and flow of the waves, in confidence they began to venture into the deeper water. Soon they were enjoying their newfound skills of diving, treading water, floating on their backs, and surfing the rolling waves. Physical growth, practice and experience has taught them that they can do increasingly difficult things.

The same can be said of our faith in God. So many of us, especially as adults, seem to revert back to being a child. We are comfortable just splashing in the shallows of our life, and unwilling to venture out in our faith in God and go deeper. To trust that those waves won’t overpower us causing us to crash and hit the sandy bottom just isn’t worth the risk. To go out into the deeper areas where we cannot touch on our own or control what is happening around us is more than we are comfortable doing. We are perfectly happy just playing on our beach. We build little castles around us, listen to the sounds of the waves, and watch others as they paddle further out, but we ourselves are not willing to take that step of faith and experience the depth of the ocean’s beauty and magnitude of God’s involvement in our lives. It is safe. It is easy. There is no risk.

It is a fear of the unknown, a fear of possibly failing and drowning. It is an unwillingness to go deeper. It is a lack of desire to grow up. It is far easier to stay shallow in our faith. This way we can still claim to have faith, but don’t have the need to act on it. Why go any further? We say we believe in God and his available power in our lives, but is it true for you?

Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, had a moment of genuine faith. Then he doubted.

“But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
Matthew 14:26-33

My question is what made Peter ask the Lord to call him out? He had just witnessed Jesus miraculously feeding 5,000 people, had watched as Jesus healed multitudes, had seen demons get cast out. So, in a dark, scary moment out in the deep sea with waves crashing over them and the winds fiercely blowing around their little boat, Peter somehow had the faith that if Jesus asked him to do something, he could do it. Jesus calls him out. Peter stepped out in a moment of faith, courageously getting out of the safety of their boat, and walking toward his Lord Jesus, who was at the time literally waiting for him on the tumultuous sea. Peter made it to him! But, then taking his eyes off of Jesus, he saw the winds stirring up the sea, and fear and doubt took hold again. Yet even in his moment of fear, he knew to cry out to Jesus to save him, because he knew that the Lord could. This is faith growing deeper in Peter’s heart and mind. Not too long later, seeing Jesus on the shore and hearing his voice following his death and resurrection, Peter threw himself into the sea and swam to Jesus, his Lord and Savior. This time he had NO fear. All he wanted to do was get to Jesus, at any cost.

Staying near the shoreline is like just drinking milk alone for your diet: it goes down quickly, doesn’t require much preparation or work, and keeps you going. It is the main course for babies and young children. But milk doesn’t satisfy for very long. The older we become, the more our body requires for us to grow and be strengthened: meat, vegetables, grains. It is when we start eating more substantial foods that we continue to grow in a healthy way. The same is said about our faith.

So I ask you today: are you willing to pray this as the disciples did? Are you willing and ready to go move forward into the deeper waters of your faith, trusting that the Lord will always be with you, uphold you and provide for you, even in the fiercest storms?
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Luke 17:5

It is time to go beyond the beach. Tell the Lord that you’re coming to Him, and start swimming. Dive in! He is waiting to help you grow deeper in your faith…..

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
James 1:6

Food for thought: 1. What do you need to give to the Lord Jesus, or say to Him that will encourage you to trust Him more with every situation, everything in your life – present and future – and everyone in your life? 2. If He asks you to step out in faith about something in particular, will you do it? 3. There is milk in the shallows, but pursue meat in the deep. 4. Faith is essential to salvation.

Fun facts: 1. The name “Faith” was most popular in 2002 when it peaked at #48 for girls. 2. In 2021, there were 1,706 girls named Faith. 3. Alternative spellings are Faithe, Fayth, Faythe, or Phaith.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – California Coast

Additional scripture about this topic:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,…Fear not, for I am with you…”
Isaiah 43:2-3, 4a, 5a

“for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
Hebrews 5:13-14

“Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”
Mark 4:16-17

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6