This morning I read the passage in Matthew 14 where Peter walks on water. With everything that is going on in my life right now I can really relate to Peter in this passage. I have really been seeking God to heal my husband, and in a recent post I revealed my discouragement about the matter, relating my doubt to Thomas when he doubted whether Jesus had returned. This realization made me get to the heart of the matter. I have a lot of fear and trust issues. I have a hard time just trusting God that He has everything under control. I am afraid that if I am not in control of my life everything is just going to fall apart. I have a hard time giving things over to Him. When I pray, it is more like me giving orders instead of asking God what He wants to do in my life.
I need to have the courage of Peter and step out of the boat.
My pastor, Erik Hill, has said a couple times in different sermons that so many people focus on the fact that Peter fell into the water because he didn't have the courage to stand, but they are missing the fact that Peter was the only disciple brave enough to even step out of the boat. Many people overlook the fact that there were 11 more men who were sitting tightly in their seat and were scared when they saw Jesus walking on water. They actually thought Jesus was a ghost and were frightened. Peter stepped out of the boat. And walked!!
Peter called out to Jesus. It was Peter who initiated this walking on water encounter, not Jesus. Peter asked Jesus to call him, and Jesus gladly responded. Just like Thomas asked to see the scars on Jesus' hands and feet. It is up to us to ask Jesus to see Him move. Then we must walk. We walk and keep our eyes on Him. Peter was not standing on a solid foundation. He was standing on water. His faith was not in the water, it was in Jesus. For a few minutes it was Jesus holding him up, not the water. There is absolutely nothing in water that can hold up a human. I don't know how He did it, but Jesus walked on water and allowed Peter to do it, too. I can understand Jesus walking on water. As it says in John, Jesus was with God when the world was created. Jesus made that water at the beginning of time, and if He wanted it to hold Him up, He could do it. But then, Peter did it. That baffles me. It would be just like you or me walking on water. Jesus wants us to walk on water. I my never actually place my foot out of a boat and literally walk on water, but in this passage I learn that Jesus' abilities were not just for Him alone. He came to share what He had, and if I call out to Him, He will respond. In my circumstance, if I ask Him for something, He will answer me and call me out to come to Him. It is up to me to get out of the boat.
Peter sank. I know, it didn't last long for Peter. If I had a storm raging around me with huge waves, I would probably sink too! Peter could have trusted Jesus and walked all the way to meet him where He was, but it was a stinkin' scary storm! When Peter fell, he called out to Jesus and He was right there to pick him up out of the water. Life is hard! Right now I feel like I am sinking with huge waves all around me. Just when I feel one part of my life is under control, something else goes haywire. I kind of feel like the guy at the circus who balances all the spinning plates on poles. Just when one plate is spinning nicely, another one starts to waver and he has to go run to it to make sure it doesn't come crashing down. It can be a little overwhelming at times. Sometimes my attitude is not a perfect picture of love, joy, and peace, to say the least. Right now in the midst of my storm, I am calling out to Jesus to save me from the waves. This story is so encouraging to me at this moment in my life, because it tells me that Jesus is right there to pick me up. He is here holding out his hand to me to lift me up to him. He didn't make Peter swim back to the boat to teach him a lesson in humility, Jesus lifted Peter back up to walk back to the boat together. That gives me so much hope. Jesus won't leave me alone in the water to fend for myself. He will lift me up and help me back into the safety of the boat. This is not a story of Peter's shortcoming, but a story of Jesus' goodness and faithfulness. If you feel like you are sinking and the waves are all around you, lift up your arms to Jesus and He is right there for you, always.