Dad Taught Me To Walk On Water

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

Dad was a remarkable man in a number of ways. Here are a few examples: He liked to read……. dictionaries and encyclopedias. He was also gifted in using a lathe to make wood objects. In very recent years, I learned that he had an unusual memory. My oldest brother, Dean, said that when he was young he went with Dad on one his jobs to lay either carpet or linoleum. They went to a house to measure the rooms in which the material was to be laid. Dad measured the rooms, but did not write down the measurements. They then drove back to the shop to cut the material. From memory, Dad cut it out, and they then brought it back to the house, and laid it. 

After we moved from a farm to Minneapolis, MN, when he was well into his sixties, he got a job as a custodian at a small college on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis. One spring, he, the custodian, was the speaker at the graduation. How often does that happen? But let me go back to when I was in grade school on the farm. One of my memories of Dad was that he taught me how to walk on water. Our farm was lakeside property, with the house being about 300′ from Drywood Lake. One day, Dad told me we were going to visit neighbors on the other side of the lake, and he said we were going to walk on the lake to get there. Fortunately, it was in the cold of winter, and the lake was frozen. But even so, I was apprehensive about walking across the frozen lake to visit neighbors because I had never done so before. I knew we could fall through the ice and drown. However, I followed Dad onto the lake, and we began the  walk to the neighbors. As I walked behind him, I could see and hear the ice crack, and I could feel it sometimes dip a little under our weight. It was somewhat scary, though it did not cause me to panic. Dad seemed confident that we were not in danger, and that gave me confidence to follow along.
We can draw a practical spiritual lesson from this experience that happened in the early 1960s. It is this: sometimes God asks us to follow him as he leads us into experiences in life that can cause us some or much anxiety. It can cause anxiety because it means following him on a path not known to us, and which might seem dangerous. He knows what lies ahead, but we do not. But, just as I had to trust Dad on that frozen lake many years ago, so we must trust God to never make a mistake about the path on which he chooses to take us. Therefore, whether the path is smooth or rough, harmless or dangerous, God can be trusted to get us to his chosen destination. All will turn out well in the end.
Psalm 56 has a statement that applies directly to this matter of trusting God even when we are fearful as we follow him. Below is Psalm 56 from the Modern English Version (aka The MEV). It was taken from this website: www.biblegateway.com.  Verse 3 is the key verse, and is in bold print.

Psalm 56

For the Music Director. To the melody of “Silent Dove at a Distance.” A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, O God, for man would crush me;
    all day long he who battles oppresses me.
All day long my enemies would crush me,
    for there are many who arrogantly battle against me.

3 In the day when I am afraid,
    I will trust in You.
In God whose word I praise,
    in God I have trusted; I will not fear.
    What can mere flesh do to me?

Every day they twist my words;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    when they wait for my life.
Should there be deliverance for them on account of wickedness?
    In Your anger cast down the peoples, O God.

You take account of my wandering;
    put my tears in Your bottle;
    are they not in Your book?
In the day I cry to You,
    then my enemies will turn back;
    this I know, that God is for me.

10 In God whose word I praise,
    in the Lord whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust, I will not fear;
    what can a man do to me?

12 Your vows are on me, O God;
    I will complete them with thank offerings to You;
13 for You have delivered my soul from death,
    even my feet from stumbling,
to walk before God
    in the light of the living.

Modern English Version (MEV)The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

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