In Matthew fourteen we read the famous story of Jesus walking on the water in the middle of a great storm. The disciples are in a boat, being tossed by the waves, and see Jesus walking toward them. They’re afraid because they think He’s a ghost. Jesus says in verse 27 “Don’t be afraid. I am here.” Peter replies, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus calls Peter out onto the water. Peter steps out of the boat, takes a few steps toward Jesus, starts to look at the wind and waves, becomes afraid and sinks. Jesus reaches out and saves him saying “Why did you have so little faith?”
We love this story for so many reasons; Jesus’ power in walking on the water, Peter’s bravery to step out of the boat, his few steps on the water, and Jesus saving him. I think the main reason we love this story is because we can relate to it. We see ourselves in Peter.
How many times, and for how many different things have we stepped out in faith? We read a promise of God in the Bible, or hear it preached in a sermon and it resonates with us. It speaks directly to our hearts. We see that God has something more for us that we have yet to receive, and we decide we want it. This could be peace in our marriage and home, healing in our bodies, the ability to forgive somebody who hurt us deeply, or any of the good promises of God. This is Jesus calling us out of our “boats”. We respond to Jesus by bravely taking a step. Our eyes locked on Him, the author and finisher of faith.
Inevitably though, we run into difficulty. We get in a fight with our spouse, discipline our children out of anger instead of love, get a bad report from the doctor, or we are reminded of pain in our past. These are the winds and the waves of our lives. However, this doesn’t mean that everything is lost, that our step toward Jesus counts for nothing. We do not have to be like Peter and sink below the crashing waves of negative circumstances. We can continue to walk toward Jesus, if only we keep our eyes on Him.
Our instinct is to look away though. That’s exactly what Peter did; he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the waves. We want to take our eyes off Jesus, focus on the circumstances and what WE can do to change them. We try to manufacture our own faith through our good works. We try to be our own source instead of Jesus being our source.
This idea is ridiculous though. Why would we think that we are strong enough to finish what Jesus started? He’s the one who called us out of the boat in the first place. Doesn’t it make sense that He would be the one keeping us on top of the waves?
The great thing about this is that it takes all the pressure off of us. Jesus calls us, gives us His faith to respond, and gives us the power to walk toward Him. We have to stop trying to take responsibility for our own victory. If we would just keep our eyes on Jesus, He will bring us to where He is.
The Jesus who calls us is the Jesus who will sustain us.