“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 why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-36)
So many times we fall into a similar situation as Peter. We have our eyes set on Jesus and through faith we are doing things that we never thought we could do with our lives. Then out of the corner of our eye we catch a glimpse of the storm (the battles that we face in the world) and we begin to doubt. The doubt swamps our faith until we drown in fear and we cry out to be saved. The world can throw many incredible storms at us. Loss of job, illness, not being where you want to be, family problems, etc. They are so easy to be overcome by because they are the here and now, they are all you are focused on. As we have seen in this passage, as soon as Peter called out to Jesus, Jesus reached out to him. It is time we took our eyes off the storm and allowed Jesus to help us walk on the water, to do the impossible.
There always comes a time in our faith when we like Peter ask Jesus, “Lord , if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” . We all want to test the water/ to test our faith and meet Jesus on a new level. However, with this new step comes greater responsibility. There will be challenges and barriers and things that can make us fear but as it states in the Bible “With God all things are possible”. However, what is so easy for us to do is to run back to what we are comfortable with. This is presented by Peter being overcome by his doubt rather than faith.
“Come” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.
This act shows how much faith that Peter had. The fact that he willingly got out of the boat and walked with trust to a person he loved. This is a perfect example of what faith is meant to look like. It is about taking that first step into the unknown and trusting that God will guide you. Sometimes it will be an experience like Peter’s where it begins with faith but then we end up drowning in doubt and fear. These are all learning experiences. There are the examples of different levels of faith found in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23). To have faith is so important and it is not something that we should allow to be so easily drowned by doubt.
So now we come to the pinnacle of Peter’s faith where instead of continuing to keep his eyes on Jesus he gets distracted by the world around him. I think this links perfectly into the Parable of the Sower in regards to the seeds that fall among the thorns. “but the worries of this life and deceitfulness of wealth choke the word making it unfruitful”. There is such beauty and incredible joy when we allow faith to rule our lives. When all we desire is to be God’s child and to walk in faith by the spirit then incredible things can be done. To doubt does not make you any less a child of God but it does lead to you doubting the true power of God. This is seen with Peter he was already doing this incredible act of walking on water. Jesus was guiding him but then he chose to focus on the storm which led him to doubt the incredible act he was doing which resulted in him sinking in the depths of water he was in.
This account gives us hope that Jesus will never give up on us. As soon as Peter called out for Jesus to save him, Jesus immediately reached out and plucked him out of the depths he was drowning in. This is such a reassuring truth that Jesus never gives up on us. As soon as we cry out to him our situation begins to change. We may not see the change imminently but throughout the Bible we see time and time again peoples’ life change when they put their faith in God. For example people life David, Esther and Daniel.
There will always be storms around us but when we allow Jesus to take control there is a renewed sense of hope and peace. Even in this account we see that the storm does subside that it does not last forever. V32 ‘And when they climbed into the boat the wind died down’. Jesus is always in full control and sometimes we cannot comprehend why some storms last longer than others or are so much more painful. But, we can trust that Jesus never leaves nor forsakes us.
How many times do we get through the storm and have the same question in our head ‘”you of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?”’. A lot of time in life we feel like we have to battle on alone but we forget that we have an all-powerful God who loves us and wants to fight for us. We are told to leave all our burdens with him. We live in a world that is full of uncertainties such as terrorism, life threatening illnesses and disease and an unstable job market. Sometimes life can be very cruel and take loved ones away or we ourselves face trials. I think when we give up our hope especially in Jesus we allow our storm to win. This should not be the case. It is about having the faith to tell your storm how big and powerful your God is.
How do we stay focused on Jesus?
Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.
We need to remind ourselves of the good things God has already done in each of our lives. This is one thing I am constantly reminding myself to do, I am one person who so easily gets distracted by the storms in my life. It is about remembering Jesus’ faithfulness in the last storm, he is not about to forsake you in this one.
Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scouring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus knows what it truly means to suffer and he endured it, Jesus will help us too.
Let’s have those incredible experiences of faith where we walk on the water, facing not our storm but our hope in Jesus who is with us every step of the way.