If I was asked to choose a biblical character that I related most to, it would have to be Peter. His passion and full on sprint towards Jesus connects and relates to my heart unlike any other. I love that he wasn’t afraid to get back up after failure. He had some really public ones that all generations get to know about and learn from. I’m so beyond thankful that my failures aren’t remembered and talked about for generations! With all his failures I have to believe it only caused him to fall more and more in love with Jesus. To vow to chase after Him harder, love deeper, learn more of Him, because I know that is certainly what it does for me.
When I read of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, this is when the disciples had left at Jesus’s instruction so he could go into the hills to pray alone, they find themselves in a bit of trouble out on the water. These are experienced sea men, not the casual Sunday boater, so this is some really serious crashing waves and wind. At three o’clock in the morning which I find significant, this isn’t just night but the dead of night, the loneliest stretch of night, and the waves are crashing all round. Does this ever sound like your life? It sure does mine, the darkest of dark when everything is happening at once, crashing in on me. But behold sisters, who is on the horizon of edge of the boat, Jesus. Oh Jesus, He arrives at the perfect moment but the disciples are afraid, they think he is a ghost. Hmmm, again much like life, we call out, we want His response to our crisis, but when he shows up it and isn’t how WE planned, we are alarmed with how his rescue looks.
So Jesus responds in verse 27 with “Don’t be afraid, take courage. I am here.” Well Peter responds with a response I think would be like me “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Yep, like me I want proof, I want to know that He has really arrived, I can’t just trust one sense, in this case for Peter it’s his sight-I mean Jesus is STANDING in front of him….ON the water.
Jesus, in his loving and grace filled, ways went along with Peter’s need for an extra step of proof. He said to Peter “Yes, come.” So Peter dove over the side of the boat, in my mind I picture no hesitation, just gathering up his robes in one hand and feet almost tripping over the other in his hurry to get onto the water. He takes a few steps probably the thought of “I’m doing it, I’m WALKING on water towards Jesus!” races through his mind. Then the edge of a wave catches his attention out of the corner of his eye, he then full on looks to his left and sees these huge waves feels the strong winds on his face and panic flutters in his chest. His eyes remain on the waves, he forgets to focus back on Jesus. Just like that his toes are under water, that panic grows its filling him now, more of him is falling under the water. Full panic has set in yet, his eyes haven’t landed back on Jesus yet. He calls out “SAVE ME, LORD” From our vantage point it seems obvious we are mentally saying; “Peter look at Jesus, TRUST Jesus, and you wouldn’t find yourself sinking.”
Jesus replies while reaching out to grab him “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?” Oh I think how many times has Jesus said this about me. “Winter, why do you doubt me. Winter, why do you have such little faith when distractions happen?”
I love that Jesus doesn’t criticize him for getting out of boat, for taking those initial steps on the water, or even wanting to have that proof, that it was really Jesus there on the water. He does draw Peter’s attention in the form of correcting him of the fact that he knew Jesus was right there, that Jesus has already shown that he is capable, heck just that day Jesus had fed 5,000 people on 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish all of which came after Him healing the sick. Yet Peter removed his eyes from Jesus, he showed little faith. He allowed his fear to be bigger than his faith. Faith comes at a great cost, it comes at the expense of being willing to get out of the boat. To try again and again, to chase after Jesus in ways that others will believe you to be crazy.
Faith is tested in the storms of our lives. If you’re in the place that the waves seem as if they will drown you sweet sisters, let me tell you, Jesus is in the midst of the waves and wind. He isn’t on the shore or up above looking down. He is IN it with you, His hand is already extended out, ready to grab you. If you are on the edge of the boat, on the precipice of stepping out in faith will you be like Peter scrambling to follow Jesus out onto the water? No matter which position you are in you’ll notice that Peter had the wind and waves, on the boat or on the water. We are not promised a life or faith walk without waves or wind only that Jesus will be found in the midst of our storm. He promises to rescue us, to wipe our tears, listen to our fears and to stand over us in protection.
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