After feeding the five thousand men (not counting the men and women) Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake, while he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the waves were blowing against it.
Between three and six o’clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” They said, and screamed with fear.
Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” He said. “It is I. Don’t be afraid!”
Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it really is you, order me to come to you.”
“Come!” Answered Jesus.
So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” He cried.
At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”
They both got into the boat, and the wind died down. Then the disciples in the boat worshipped Jesus. “Truly You are the Son of God!” They exclaimed. (Matthew 14: 22-32).
I believe in God with all that I have in me, but I can’t help wondering; if I was in Peter’s shoes, would I have gotten out of the boat to walk on water? As in water, with no visible bridge; just plain water? With gravity, ever a present factor and all? That was a mighty leap of faith.
For starters, I have a phobia for big water bodies. Flowing rivers especially, make up part of my scariest nightmares. And the thought of finding myself in the middle of a lake, which could be hundreds of feet deep, crawling with God-knows what? I love swimming pools though, but I feel it’s mainly because one can actually see the bottom.
That said, I respect Peter. He trusted Jesus enough to believe he could actually walk on water without sinking. You know what makes the thought even scarier? Knowing there could be live creatures in that water, say fish. That’s just petrifying.
But then again, Peter was a fisherman. He had already gotten used to handling them; nevertheless, that doesn’t make sinking in a ‘fish-infested’ lake okay though. It’s still scary. Peter’s story is one of deep faith, and a very encouraging one at that.
If you were in a boat, in the wee hours of the morning, and saw someone walking on water, how would you react? And if that person went ahead to tell you he was Jesus, would you still have enough courage to get out of the boat?
One thing I love about Peter was that he was just a normal guy who didn’t care to appear perfect in God’s eyes. He just tried to be a better man. He denied Jesus three times, doubted Him, thus sinking in the water, but he ended up being made the rock on whose God’s church would be founded.
Peter was a man full of faith, but like any other normal human being, his faith was put to test and sometimes he failed; nonetheless, Jesus accepted him with all his flaws. His story reminds us not to seek perfection but holiness.
Like Peter, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where our faith is tested and based on the magnitude of whatever difficulty we’re going through, we give up. Personally, what I’ve learned is that faith and worrying/fear don’t blend. Those two fight for superiority and the one that wins takes full charge.
Looking at Peter’s experience, at first he believed he could walk on water, but when the strong wind blew his faith exited, leaving him sinking; luckily Jesus came to his rescue. Looking at it from a real life scenario, the wind could signify an adversity that shakes our faith. But like Peter, if we hold on to Jesus, we will find our balance.
You might be going through something difficult right now. And if you are feeling like your faith is waning, don’t beat yourself up for it. It is normal. Instead, reach out for God’s hand; call out His name and unfailingly He will pull you up, like He did with Peter.