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written by Matthew Shaner

I was seated in Barnes and Noble across from Randy Simmons and Merlin Weaver, two men working to change the face of the fight against homelessness. Simmons, the founder and head of We Agape You, was in the midst of telling me his story.

His pastor had challenged him with the question:  do you trust God or fear man?  It served as a barometer for him ever since. When I drove home, it stayed with me. As God often does, He speaks to us through everyday conversations.

Did I trust or did I fear?

Six months before that conversation, I had started writing a book about the effort to revitalize the city of Reading and combat the poverty that had pushed it to the poorest city in the United States. I’d interviewed community leaders, charity organizations, shelters, and government officials. I’d partnered with a local outreach and would raise money for their project to obtain shelter housing for homeless families. The contacts, channels, and resources had lined up.

God was moving.

And yet, I felt the waves rising around me. Ever since losing a full time job in 2008, our family has experienced the economic pinch like so many in this country. I had gone back to school and found my way into a new industry, always yielding to the pull of the stories calling to be told, of the words driving to make a difference.

We are often torn between our calling and our questions.

The justifications to fear come so quick, hovering just below the surface:
-When the job interview doesn't go well.
-When the man or woman you were sure was the one ends up leaving.
-When the money runs short and the bank account is overdrawn and the kids are hungry for a dinner you may not have.

What if we lived in trust and not fear? What if we stepped out in faith? How would things change?

Peter found himself on the water. Like Peter, we hear Jesus calling us to step out in the midst of the storm. When he noticed the waves, he started to sink. When we read this, we skim over an important point.

For a moment, he was walking on water. He was living faith, trusting God, and seeing the hand of the Creator impacting his very existence. Imagine his first breath when his feet touched down on the crashing waves and he did not sink.

Imagine yours.

If you are in the midst of struggle, I encourage you. Write down the question and hang it on your bathroom mirror, put it in your Bible, make it your cell phone wallpaper.

Do you trust God or fear man?

Change your answer and see what can happen.

READ // 
Matthew 13:22-33
Isaiah 40:28-31

We're two months into 2015 and maybe you've forgotten the bravery and resolutions that you started off the year with.  Think about the season that you're in or the place that you're in right now.  How does God want to use you?  How is He asking you to step out in faith and trust in Him?  Ask yourself the hard question:  do you trust God or fear man?

Matt Shaner is a writer, father, husband, and believer. He obtained his MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University and has published multiple short stories, two novellas, and a novel. You can find his work and thoughts at
Copyright © 2015 GT CHURCH, All rights reserved.

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Reading, PA 19609

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