A couple of years ago I pushed out from the shores of motherhood and enrolled my only son in a private Christian college. After much prayer, advice from counselors and applying for grants and scholarships, I was confident that the Lord was saying, “Go across to the other side.” I obeyed, believing that provision would be there all the way to his graduation.
But as we began rowing on the vast sea of college expenses I soon became overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. I started thinking that my little boat, equipped only with my income, was truly inadequate for the journey – even with all the financial aid we graciously received. I spotted dark skies on the horizon. Then a storm blew in.
Waves of unforeseen expenses suddenly arose from every direction and began beating against my humble vessel. Every frivolity in my single life was thrown overboard. Everything I could live without I sold for cash. But the waves grew bigger. Child support stopped unexpectedly. Tuition rose. Monthly payments became impossible and I began to beg for grace from the loan company. Fierce winds of doubt tore at my sail. Failure and retreat moaned from the worn boards of my battered ship.
My fear grew as I realized I had no control over our destination. It seemed me and my son were lost at sea, abandoned. Other parents had saved for their children’s college since the day they were born. Most of his dorm-mates had money to burn and new cars. I just barely had enough money to send him laundry soap or a tube of toothpaste.
Although his freshman year went fairly smooth, each semester since has become a bigger challenge. We’ve discussed alternatives. I tried not to upset him by panicking as I pondered out loud how I’m going to pay for his last two years, but I just couldn’t see a way for him to stay in a private school. I forced myself to stay positive while I bailed buckets of embarrassment from my sinking ship.
Then I saw a ghost! I was shocked and my fear rose. There, on the water between the waves was a bright light, a stunning ray of hope shining so brilliant it was unbelievable. I gazed at it, unable to make a logical connection between the figure of light walking toward me and the enormous figures in my pile of bills. The contradiction of this God-man walking in the torrent surrounding my sinking ship was hard to fathom and my brain kept refusing to accept it.
Why is it so hard for us to believe that God is present in our storms? Why, when we can see him walking right toward us, do we reject the reality, that even the wind and the waves obey him – that we are never out of his reach? What made me think that just because he said, “Go to the other side” I was going without him?
I held the March tuition bill in my hand just a few days before typing this article. As I stared at the figure on the paper I saw the figure on the water. It was then I realized how many times God has provided. Many many times his grace, his mercy, his gifts and attention has been there – precisely when I needed it. What made me think that this time would be any different? I heard him ask, “Where is your faith?” I knew that what he really meant was we were going to walk on water the rest of the way. At that I stepped out of the boat.
Walking on Water was the March 2000 article in my monthly column, Doors & Windows, in the Community Word newspaper. It is one of the stories in my book, Doors & Windows, A Collection of Steps. This article so moved one reader, that they sent a cashiers check to my editor to give to me in the amount that I needed to pay the bill I referred to in the story. It taught me much about walking on water with Jesus!