As I was stuck in traffic on my way home from work earlier this week, I was listening to the radio. As I sat there tapping my finger on the steering wheel waiting for the light to turn green, a commercial came on that (strangely) got me thinking about walking on water.
As the evening progressed, I still could not stop thinking about walking on water for some reason. I woke up the next day and it was STILL on my mind, so here I am writing this.
So, I’m guessing that you’re thinking” wait, what?? Walking on water, like what Jesus did?” Yupp, but more specifically, as in what Peter failed to do (if you aren’t familiar with the story give Matthew 14:22-33 a read).
We often read the story of Jesus walking on water and think, “cool! What a miracle! Go Jesus!”. And then you get to Peter’s part of the story and we think, “C’mon, you literally just have to do what Jesus tells you to and have some faith. It’s not that hard! Jesus is RIGHT THERE to help you!”.
I used to daydream about walking on the water with Jesus. However, the more I think about it, I don’t know if I would have even been able to get out of the boat!
And that is where I am going to start, the boat, where I think a lot of people are hanging out right now. Here we are rowing through life from point A to point B, when we see something on the horizon, and we realize that it’s Jesus calling us out to him. He is calling us to step out in faith for him.
I can see myself there now: I’m in a boat looking at what Jesus is asking of me, and my eyes widen and my mouth opens as I do the “are-you-serious” face. Like, “Jesus can’t you see that I’m going from point A to point B on this perfectly safe boat? …And you want me to just step out onto the water? Hello! That’s impossible!”.
We are filled with doubt in moments like these wondering if it is actually Jesus, dwelling on how impossible it seems, and even attempting to ignore the call, even though Jesus said, “Take courage…don’t be afraid,” (Matthew 14:27).
Rather than listening to him and trusting him, we stay in the boat, safe and sound. And you know what? Jesus will still love and provide for you in that boat, but you are missing an encounter with him, you are refusing a chance to walk in the miracle(s) he will perform, and you are saying “this boat is better than whatever you have for me there”.
And then sometimes we are Peter. Peter saw Jesus and he cried out, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water ”(14:28). To which Jesus simply replies, “come” (14:29), and with that Peter steps out of the boat. It was as simple as one word that Jesus said, and Peter goes.
Peter takes action. He is not sitting in the boat wondering if it will be worth it, or thinking of the “what-ifs”, or about the possibility of failure, or even about what the others will think. He hears Jesus and he goes.
Peter begins walking on the water out to Jesus! He believed what Jesus said and he took the step, and Jesus was faithful. He was walking securely in what Jesus has called him to.
But,we know what happens next, Peter begins to notice the waves and the wind. He gets distracted by everything going on around him, he gets scared, and he takes his eyes off of Jesus. As soon as he does that he begins to sink.
Peter had literally just been walking on the water with Jesus!! And the next second he forgets how miraculous that is, and he forgets the power of Jesus. He lets’ fear sink into his heart, and he starts to sink.
How many of us do this?
I know that I do this every day. I take my eyes off of Jesus and I look at all the scary and hard things and I let myself begin to sink in fear. I start to drown because I decided to stop focusing on who He is and what He has done, and I start noticing bills, sickness, lack of time, other people’s opinions, etc.
Jesus would have never called Peter out if walking on water was going to be impossible for him. Jesus knew it was going to be fine, and Jesus knew that he was going to be with Peter every step of the way. And it’s no different with us. Whatever you are going through or whatever you feel called to do, Jesus will be there, he would not have called you to this if it was going to be impossible (which nothing is through Him; see Mark 9:23, Matthew 19:26, Philippians 4:13).
Even if you do take your eyes off Jesus and start to sink, He will be there to pick you back up, as it says in verse 30,“but when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid, and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me” (14:30).
Peter called out to Jesus, and Jesus answered, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, ‘You of little faith,’ he said ‘ why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
Jesus is not going to let us drown, don’t doubt him!
So here I am left thinking to myself, why? Why is it that time-after-time I see God’s goodness and faithfulness, time-after-time he lifts me up, and time-after-time he does amazing things in my life, yet I still doubt?
Sometimes I am out of the boat, I’ve taken the first step and I’m messily trying to do what Jesus has called me to do (and needing him to help me back up when I start drowning). But other times I’m in the boat looking at Jesus deciding if I should even take the step out, sometimes waiting for a sign (and then another).
I feel like I am supposed to just remind us all to take the step, get out of the boat. You might struggle, but Jesus is going to be there every step of the way. We will never walk with Jesus in the miracles and wonders if we don’t take the step out.
Wherever it is that you are right now, keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep trusting him and he will not let you drown.