“When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear. Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don’t be afraid!” Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.” “Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried. At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”” Matthew 14:26-31
In the boat, Peter was the expert. When Jesus called Peter to follow Him, Peter was a fisherman. He knew what to do inside the boat. He could be in control, despite the wind that was coming against them. He had likely steered a ship though many a wind storm.
but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. Matthew 14:24
But outside the boat, was the unknown. He wanted to be brave despite thinking he and his companions might be seeing a ghost. He heard the voice, He wanted to trust He knew the Master’s voice. He had to be asking himself “Who the heck can walk on water?” Calling back Peter responds with a brave request, but also a question of “if it is really you.” Did he think Jesus would tell him yes when he offered to get out of the boat? Stepping out was a test of his faith. It is one thing to make the request for it, another thing completely to act on it.
He steps out, we know Peter started walking towards Jesus. Then doubt set in. “What am I doing? Fishermen don’t walk on the water. Who do I think I am? I am not Jesus.” Peter wasn’t walking on water in his own ability, it was his faith in Jesus’ command that kept him above the sea. He looks around at his surroundings and fear grabs hold and starts to take Him down. It may be cowardly, but instead of refocusing on Jesus, Peter just cries out “save me.” Jesus does, but then questions his faith.
I struggle with this too. Ask me to believe for Peter, Andrew, James, John, even you; I will. I will be your cheerleader, encouraging you to take that step. I will offer you a hand to steady you as you step out of the boat onto the water. I will be reminding you that if God has called You to it, He will be there. He will make it work out, even in the moments of doubt and struggle.
As much as I want to walk on the water in faith, I often find myself staying in the boat. I hear His voice call to me, “Jackie, Come!” I am too focused on the circumstances outside my control to even get my big toe wet. I am sitting back with the other disciples staying in the comfort and security of the boat, even as the captain steps out of it in faith and the storm rages around me, the unexperienced sailor. Even before I can stand up, fear and insecurity set in. I want to step out, but the illusion of control holds me.
I want to be bold like Peter. I want walk on water faith. I want to take that step of faith even in the face of absolute impossibility. I want to abandon logic, and say “Lord, if it is You, let me come out to You.” I want to take that step and keep walking in faith. I already know He has saved me. He will not fail me, regardless of what happens. He has proven it time and time again, He has prepared me for walk on water faith; yet still, I hold back.
I want to blame it on my lack of cheerleaders. Yet, there is nothing in the story of Peter’s boatmates, the other disciples. Peter took his step, made the requestion and the decision without fanfare. The only thing that should matter, is that Jesus has asked me to have that faith. He wants me to trust Him completely. He wants me to step out despite my fears and doubt.
How about you?
Prayer – Lord, please help me walk in faith completely trusting You have me. Give me walk on water faith. I hear it. I read it in Your word. I want it in my life.
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