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.
~ Matthew 14:26-32
I wander how many blog posts, commentaries, and sermons have been written on this passage. Sometimes it is difficult reading these types of stories in the Gospels because you think of them as just Sunday school stories. It is refreshing to re-read them though because they are inspiring and often correspond with life.
Something about this Bible story grabbed me. Lately I have wrestled with discouragement in a situation that effects not only my family’s immediate needs, but a ministry I believe God has called me and my wife to. In the past few years, as God has pulled me from a very dark and shameful place and shown me a path of faith, I have been eager to insane leaps of faith. Much like Peter, I jump over the side of that boat. While God is doing the unbelievable in my life, I start to question that leap. It is at that moment I start sinking in my own doubt, rationality, and fears.
Recently has been no exception. Things will be going great, when I stop and look around at the waves that could crash and ruin it all. My eyes wander from Jesus to the waves. In panic to push forward, my eyes go from the waves of my fears to the immediate situation at hand. While I am trying to step over the little wave, the problem I am focusing on, I realize that I am sinking. At that point, I cry out. Thankfully, every time, God is there to grab my hand.
“Why did you doubt me?” Good question. In other words, Jesus is asking me why I took my eyes and focus off of him. When he is my focus I walk forward in confidence and faith. When something else draws my focus, he no longer has my full attention, and my strength source is severed.
This problem in my life feels like a broken record, and frustrates me to no end. I am so thankful he has promised to never leave or forsake me! He is always there to grab my hand, then climbs in the boat with me and dries me off.
There are so many waves in our lives that could engulf us. We are so busy, have so many things to get done, deadlines to hit, and goals to accomplish. A question I have to stop and ask myself is, “Am I stepping in his footsteps?” He has already overcome, will never make a false move, and never tread a path I cannot handle. In every goal I pursue, is he in it? Is the end result for his glory? Tough questions. My best advice for myself and others is: if he is not at the very center of all that you do, and your focus is not on him, give it up if you are in desperate pursuit of him. Otherwise you will fail.
He wants our faith, our focus, and our lives. The reward is fulfilling. For myself personally, I come back to that same conclusion every time. As I take each day one step at a time, my prayer is that he will calm the waves that want to distract me. He will provide. He will show up big. He has already overcome!