Her Eyes Were Fastened

July 19, 2021 · by Heidi Stewart

She remembered the story of Peter sinking into the water. If she tried hard enough, she could almost smell the faint, musty scent of the old Sunday School classroom where she had heard it for the first time. As a little girl, those Bible stories were just cool. She’d never been thrown into a lion’s den or threatened with persecution so they weren’t exactly relatable to her as a pudgy and well-liked six-year-old from the South, but she understood now. On days like this one, sitting on the couch folding her fifty-eighth T-shirt of the day and trying to keep her thoughts from That Thing, she could sympathize with Peter’s panic. It was out of her control and she was powerless to do anything. What would happen? How should she think or not think? How should she talk about it? She didn’t know. All she knew was that “trusting God”, “letting go”, and other popular Christian maxims are far easier said than done.

She ran over the situation in her mind again, calculating all the ways God should have taken care of it by now. Unbidden tears began to form behind her eyes, the weight of what she was up against seemed to come out of nowhere at times, hitting her full force. The frustration of not being able to wave a wand and make it all okay made her want to scream and cry all at once. She couldn’t do anything about it. Her lips began to move without sound, petitioning the Lord once again. “God, your promises are yea and amen. You will do just what you said you would do. Forgive me for harboring any doubts. I know you’re going to turn this around for good. I-” She faltered, a tear slipping out. “I trust you.” Her heart felt a little lighter, though nothing else had changed. 

Suddenly, she could picture Peter in her mind’s eye as he took his eyes off the face of Jesus and glanced frantically at the waves that swelled around him. That moment seemed to play on a loop and she felt that the Lord was bringing it to her attention for a reason. She knew from that Sunday School class that when Peter took his eyes off Jesus was when he started sinking. Clear revelation took hold as she realized why her tearful prayers always made her feel more at peace: she was putting her attention back on Jesus instead of the waves of frustration and doubt that threatened to overtake her.

Years later, she told her testimony. She recounted that day on the couch and all the other days she had struggled to praise God when her heart felt heavy. Looking back, God had known all along what she had needed. She had been trying so hard to rely on her own abilities that she hadn’t learned to cast her cares on the One who cared so deeply for her. She’d needed to learn true humility, emptying herself of that need for control so God could do what only He can. In the end, He had proven faithful yet again. Telling her story so that others could experience the same peace made That Thing worth it. 

It didn’t destroy her, the waves didn’t ruin her. Her eyes were fastened. God had deepened her faith, taught her true trust and humility with that situation in a way that nothing else could have.

She had made it.

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Heidi Stewart

About Heidi Stewart

Heidi Stewart is from Del City, Oklahoma, where she and her husband serve in music ministry and as youth workers alongside some of the best people in the world. She has a passion to educate, inspire, and help others reach their full potential through mentoring and discipleship. Her heart’s desire is to live a purposeful life, giving glory to Jesus in all of it, by serving the Kingdom with excellence. Follow Heidi on Instagram at @heidistewarttt