Matthew 14:28-30 (NIV)
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Lately this story has been coming to mind more and more. For one thing, I relate to Peter as an “act now, think later” kind of a guy and I always have; Because of that I usually pay particular attention to him in the Gospels. In this moment, the motivation for his bold move seems to be out of fear. He and the disciples are without Jesus in their boat and the waves are crashing into them on all sides. When they see Jesus walking on the water it appears to be the last straw since they aren’t sure if it’s him or a ghost. As an attempt to verify who it is, Peter invites Jesus to command him to do something impossible by natural law—walk on the water.
What occurred to me recently is that Peter probably does the impossible even before he realizes that he’s doing it. It’s precisely the instant he begins to add up the facts and process the problems of “reality” around him that he begins to sink.
Here’s the encouragement I’m grabbing onto with this story. Life is far from “normal” for our family right now. There’s a lot of irregularity, unpredictability and unanswered questions and it is uncomfortable to say the least. There are many things I could list but I am resisting the temptation to name them because it only seems to shrink my faith and shift my focus. I don’t think that Jesus wants me to be unaware of my problems, like Peter was not unaware of Jesus commanding him to do something impossible, but knowing about your problems and focusing on them are different matters entirely. Our faith and our focus must remain on Christ and not our challenges. All I can think about is looking into the eyes of my Savior while putting one foot in front of another and doing something that I once may have thought was impossible (i.e. Going to the Mission Field). Perhaps there is some problem or challenge in your life as well, that has received too much attention from you lately. It may be time to plant and pivot and place your faith and focus deliberately on your Lord again.
In Christ – Jon Fowler