I am still processing Matt Barrios July 4 sermon about fear of the unknown will of God.
He shares his fear of open waters.
Oceans by Hillsong United is one of the most popular and beloved worship songs of all time. The song tells the story, as recounted in Matthew 14 v22-33, of Peter being called by Jesus to walk on the water. The disciple did so, but temporarily lost his focus and started to sink, so he was forced to call on Jesus to rescue him. According to Hillsong, it’s, “about stepping into the unknown and a song about faith and trust.”
“You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In ocean deep, my faith will stand.”
There’s so much about God’s will that we don’t know and we will never know and that’s okay. Just have a look at these Scripture verses:
No matter how smart we are or what we try, we’ll never know entirely what’s going to happen in the future. That’s God’s realm. It belongs to God. Not only that, but there are things we pray for that won’t happen as we desire, just read Hebrews 11:1-16.
While we can’t know it all, we can know more of God’s will. Romans 12:2 states that God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect and that we’ll be able to test and approve it. But, in order to do that, we have to do something that can be quite challenging. We must eliminate our need or desire to conform to what everyone else is doing and instead, allow our minds to be transformed by God. In order to grasp any part of God’s Unknown (Sovereign) will, we have to bring Him our untransformed mind to to be renewed as we seek to follow Him in the Known (Revealed) will of God. And part of knowing is accepting that we won’t know it all and we no longer have to fear the unknown because we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
Why does a ship need an anchor? To keep it steady, yet say, and save it from being carried away by wind and tide. Oh, how many influences there are around us that put us in danger. Then an anchor is of great value in preventing a ship from drifting.
And we know no matter how long we’ve been walking with Jesus, we have a tendency to drift like Peter who lost focus on Jesus while walking on water. If you left a ship in the middle of a body of water, no matter how calm and serene that water might seem on the surface, it would inevitably start to drift, how much more on stormy seas. We need an anchor because there are currents constantly operating below the surface. So it is with the human heart.
We might seem fine on the surface. Life might be put together. Our theology might be on point. Yet inside us all is the undercurrent of sin. Because it’s there, we all have the tendency to drift. And no one drifts toward Jesus; only away from Him. This is why we need to be anchored – it’s because if we are not, then we will slowly but surely start to drift away.
The fear of lost, hardship, the unknown are a present reality just by way of living in a broken world. We need the same simple exhortation – just keep going (Hebrews 12:1-3). Along with that exhortation comes a reminder that we have a firm anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:14) which is what we need during these uncertain times. It could be a time when everything seems unstable and shifting around us. Our families, our work, our income – these will all undergo change and loss. But our souls can remain secure because they are anchored to something secure – the hope in Christ that does not change.
Maybe today you are experiencing the human condition of wondering if the next thing to come your way will sink you. As I said, we are living in such an unsettled, uncertain time — when information can overload us, weigh us down, sink our ship. The news is discouraging and disappointing, full of injustice, bigotry, and loss, that even a buoyant soul can panic that they’re four inches from disaster.
When you feel that way, what do you do? The Scripture from Hebrews 6 reminds me that my soul needs an anchor.
Hope. It’s the one thing you and I cannot live without. But trying to hold on to hope can take all your strength, particularly when hope’s old enemy, doubt, drags you toward despair.
When you’re in despair, logical thinking will not help. You will exhaust yourself trying to sort out God’s reasons for allowing bad things to happen. Even if you could fathom despair’s depths, you’d still be lying in the same hospital bed. Or standing beside the same grave. Or sitting alone in the same empty house. Your head would hold some answers, but your heart would still be aching.
You need more than logic when you’re sinking beneath the waves. You need something solid to hold on to! What can you hold on to when life’s storms crash over you? The better question is, Whom can you hold on to?
In his magnificent letter, the writer to the Hebrews ushers us into a soaring realm where he highlights the answer:
It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:17–19 emphasis added)
How do you anchor your soul?
Matt Barrios’s sermon last July 4