Matthew 14:24-33 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
When I came across this in my morning reading, I knew there was going to be a “message” for me to hear and a “life lesson” to heed.
Look at the way the passage opens up: ‘the disciples were in trouble far away from land.’ Unlike many other instances in Scripture where God gives instruction and man deliberately chooses to do his own thing, resulting in consequences, the disciples actually did follow through with Jesus’ instructions to get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake. In fact, their obedience landed them smack in the middle of a storm.
Am I alone here? Any of my Girlfriends out there feeling like they’ve been there ~~ or maybe you’re there now? You might be thinking: “I did exactly as God told me and this is what I get!” Let’s read on …
The passage intensifies by denoting that the disciples were in the midst of strong winds and heavy waves. MMHMM! Seemingly going from bad to worse, now they’re too far from land on either side of the lake, a storm abruptly slams into their peaceful night, and it’s pitch dark at about 3 o’clock in the morning.
Let’s chat for a bit, shall we? I can testify to moments of “serenity” and peace ~~ you know, those precious moments of “aaaahhh!” And it’s usually right after a bout with trauma or drama in my life. Funny how you don’t really recognize the beauty of peace until you experience the harshness of difficult times. It is these moments that I tend to believe that God would have us always “alert” and ever communing with Him; somehow we just “relax” into our day-to-day routines ~~ casually surfing the waves.
But what is our gut response to strong winds and heavy waves? Notice how Jesus had told them earlier to go to the other side of the lake ~~ because He was going to meet them there. He didn’t send them out into the middle of “nowhere” ~~ these were His Friends ~~ His Followers. Yes, while Jesus calls us to “go do,” the storms of life will still rage around us. He could have commanded the seas to be peaceful and calm and serene for a lovely night out beneath the stars for His dear Friends ~~ but He didn’t.
Panic. Fear. Worry. Anyone else out there “acquainted” with these joy-robbers?
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy; I have overcome the world.” My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.
Even in our panic, though we have faith, we can become blinded by the circumstances that surround us. The disciples were so distraught that upon getting a “glimpse” of Jesus in the midst of their storm they were terrified. Perhaps in their misery they were so focused on their storm that “seeing Jesus” rattled their senses. But Sweet Girlfriend of mine, we seem to overlook the simple fact that our Savior stands in the midst of our storm with us and yearns to calm our soul more than the winds that surround us.
Look back at our Scripture verse above, Jesus tells His Friends to not be afraid ~~ He is with us ~~ even though the winds are blowing and the waves are rising. Wide-eyed Peter, filled with faith, calls out to Jesus and He says come! Jesus knew the condition of Peter’s heart and that he was responding in faith, so He equipped him and beckoned him to join Him ~~ in the midst of the storm (let’s not forget, Jesus did not calm the storm before calling Peter to join Him). If we took a personal inventory of our heart, would we be inclined to follow Jesus even it if meant “going into a storm?”
Are we willing to step out of the boat ~~ even while we may be feeling uncertain and unsure of ourselves ~~ to take that step towards The One Who gives us the strength and power to be sure of Him? On various occasions, I can recall having taken those initial steps ~~ mind blowing ~~ full of wonder and maybe even “fearless.” I tend to think that Peter was holding his breath as he lowered one leg at a time over the boat and onto the surface of the water. I envision Jesus standing firm with His eyes filled with love and His arms outstretched ready to receive His Friend, all the while the winds are feeling like a hurricane and the waves are crashing hard against the small boat. The other disciples, mouths gaping open and eyeballs as big as saucers, may have been in utter shock to have witnessed such a sight.
Maybe stepping out of the boat is what you’ve recently been called to do ~~ leave your comfy zone ~~ and go do whatever God has called you to do. And maybe you’ve been reluctant ~~ that’s another word for “fearful.” Growth doesn’t happen in the comfy zone ~~ whether it’s to reach out to people in your sphere of influence or to go beyond that and enter a different community. Girlfriend, if God is calling you and you’re running away from His Voice by hiding or pretending you don’t hear Him, you are not following the One Whom you say you worship. Furthermore, your relationship may be nothing more than admiration for Jesus. That’s some serious food for tho’t.
The minute Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and started to focus on the storm, down he went! He immediately began to sink and thought he was not going to survive. Sound familiar, Girlfriend?
I like what Jesus said to Peter: “Why did you doubt me?”
Jesus didn’t ask Peter why did he not continue to stay strong ~~ Jesus took Peter’s fear and placed it up against Himself ~~ and asked Peter why he put more trust in the circumstances instead of in Him. Girlfriend, nothing stands up against the power of God. And I know we know this, but too often we allow the cares of this world and the storms that are circling to drown out our faith.
I believe that Jesus calls us out to make a radical impact on the world. Whether it’s to draw others closer to Him through demonstrating our faith in the midst of our storms or by straight forward telling others about His saving Grace.
So let me ask you this Sister: “Are you likely to stay on the shore because it’s safe? Are you likely to get into the boat because you can say you’re riding along with the rest of the crowd? Are you willing to take a step of faith and walk on that water?”
These are the questions we face and must give answer to if we say that we have faith and are followers of Jesus.
“How will you answer these today?”
I pray that you will desire to grow your faith Girlfriend, and take the necessary “steps” towards getting closer to God. Make the commitment to dig deeper into The Word and study what God has given us through the Scriptures. Pray about everything ~~ in good times and in bad. Stay in fellowship with God’s People ~~ or get into fellowship at your local church.
Your faith is a testimony of your relationship with your Savior.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Sweet Sister of mine ~~