“Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
And then they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
This is one of my favorite Bible stories. It is one that shows the truthfulness of human nature.
Peter is such a relateable disciple. Here’s a man who truly believes, and is vocal about his desire to follow Christ. His heart is fully in the Lord. So then, why does he fall?
I find myself coming back to this story for several reasons.
First of all, Peter had good intentions. He had faith that Christ was who he said he was, and could do what he said he could do. There are days when I feel so close to God and so confident about who he is that I can’t find it in myself to worry about anything. I believe in the power of Christ. I believe he will take care of me.
However, as the story continues, we see that Peter started to look around. He took his eyes off Jesus and turned his attention to the wind and the waves. In my life, the wind and the waves look like work, finances, relationships, school, and responsibilities. The wind and the waves look like the future and the unknown. And just like Peter, it is when these things capture my attention that I begin to feel like I’m sinking. My vision is crowded with other things and I struggle to see and hear Jesus through it all. And if we’re honest, it does feel like we’re drowning.
But the most important part is that Peter cried out to the right person. He didn’t turn back and call out to the disciples to save him, and it doesn’t say that he tried to fight the storm on his own. He called out to the one person who could lift him out; “Lord.” Sometimes I struggle with this one. I waste too much time trying to fix the situation on my own before turning to Christ. I have found time and time again that calling out to Christ and refocusing on him will lift me out when I cannot do it on my own.
I love the word that is used when Jesus lifts him out; “immediately.” As soon as Peter called out, Jesus reached down and lifted him out. He didn’t scold him first, he didn’t get angry at Peter for failing. He immediately pulls him out and then reminds Peter of who he is. “Why did you doubt?” Christ does not get tired of us. He doesn’t get angry when we fail. He is excited about our attempts! Like a father teaching his child to ride a bike, he picks us up when we fall and encourages us to try again.
I read this story all the time, and I never get tired of it. This book is not outdated, ancient, or expired. The truths that Peter learned that day in the storm are the same truths that I need to hear today.
As you face the storms in your life – as you are tempted to glance at the wind and the waves – remember; eyes up.