Matthew 14:25-33 NASB
“And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter responded and said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out with His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are truly God’s Son!”
I am continually amazed at the lessons that God the Father, in His wisdom, has given to us, to learn from. As of late, there have been numerous posts appear on various Christian related blogs about dealing with storms, that for all intents and purposes, have a tendency to cause us to call on our faith in God. And these storms that Christians are encountering are intensifying both in number and severity. These are not the infrequent whitecaps on the water type of incidents. These are high waves (a serious storm) that threatens to take us down.
I’ve encountered two or three of these myself as of late, and I know that I am not alone. These high waves are direct and frontal, not only can we not escape them, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not avoidable. These high waves are here and must be experienced and dealt with.
So if I put myself in the disciples place, in particular, the person of Peter, in this storm, what can I learn?
The first thing that comes to mind is that this storm that the disciples found themselves in, was not immediately foreseeable. It was not there intent to encounter this storm, but nevertheless, it happened. God could have calmed the storm, before it became problematic, had He wanted to, but He didn’t. GOD ALLOWED THIS STORM TO HAPPEN. Jesus could have just as easily have walked towards them on a calm sea, but this wasn’t the case. Storms of any kind don’t really take God by surprise. The Apostle Paul was ship wrecked three times due to storms. If you would like to get a good perspective on how just ONE of the three storms was like for the Apostle Paul, read the whole post provided at the “three times” link. Point to remember: God allowed this storm to happen – keep that in mind. That would be observation number one.
The second thing that comes to mind is I see Jesus doing what I clearly am not able to do. I’ve tried walking on water, the results are not good.
So what does that tell me? IT TELLS ME THAT GOD IS ABLE TO DO THAT WHICH I, IN AND OF MYSELF, AM NOT ABLE TO DO. That would be observation number two.
Observation number three would be that if Jesus says that I can walk on water, that literally changes everything. If Jesus can do it and He tells me that I can do it, then it follows that I can do it BECAUSE Jesus said I can. JESUS IS THE DECIDING FACTOR. Alone in myself, not so much. Under His authority and my reliance in Him, BECAUSE of Jesus, I am able to do that which I am not normally able to do. That would be observation number three.
And here is the kicker observation to be mindful of. Peter (you gotta love him!) takes that jump of faith that he has in Jesus and he gets out of the boat (forsaking that which he can see holds him up out of the water) and begins to walk on the water himself. That is you and I, STEPPING OUT IN FAITH when we encounter our high waves. Peter focuses on JESUS and what Jesus said, not on that which surrounded him.
But then what happens? “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
BUT SEEING THE WIND he became frightened and began to sink. How does Peter “see” the wind? (My thanks to Annie, she knows what I mean) Well you can’t keep looking at Jesus and look at the effects of the wind (the high waves) at the same time can you?
Follow through is of extreme importance. Why? Because it builds or solidifies our faith and trust in God, in spite of what we see, in spite of what we fear. Notice that Jesus didn’t tell Peter he had no faith, Jesus said he had little faith, BUT Jesus STILL reached out and took hold of Peter. And bear in mind that Peter was the ONLT ONE who dared to have Jesus call him to walk on the water. For lack of better words, even here, Peter had guts.
I’ve done that exact same things a number of times in my walk with God. Started out trusting and then allowed the waves to convince me otherwise, and allowed myself to become frightened or dismayed, to the point of not trusting, to the point of sinking. And then, in my desperation, when my own attempts failed, then I too called out to the Lord and in His grace and mercy, He reached out and took hold of me, yet once again.
My waves are bigger now, yours may be too, and I have a gut feeling they may get bigger yet, but there is a beautiful lesson here to be learned. When we truly place our faith and trust in Jesus, our faith and trust in Him becomes bigger than any waves or mountains that we might face or see. No it is not easy, but it is necessary if our faith is to really grow, beyond the “little’ faith we have. And the wondrous thing about this is that when we do, we too can walk on water.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!