Last Thursday, in ‘Oceans Deep, Part 4’, we saw that although fear is a normal part of going through the trials of life, fear can be overcome by faith, faith that comes from spending time with Jesus, getting to know Him, experiencing personally His love and His miracles.
In the midst of our own storms, as we contemplate this story of the fear of the disciples and of Jesus walking past them on the water, we wonder: How should we respond to our storm?
We can learn some valuable lessons from Peter and his response: “‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.'” (Matt 14:28)
Despite the fact that Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, despite having heard Jesus’ voice, he still wasn’t sure if this was really Jesus, and so we see him putting Jesus to the test: “If it is you…”
Is this wrong?
Not at all, we are told to test the spirits: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1) In other words, we aren’t to believe everything our eyes tell us. We are to put what we sense to the test!
Jesus wasn’t put off by Peter’s little ‘test’ either. His response? “‘Come,’ he said.” (Matt 14:29a).
And that’s what Peter did: “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” (Matt 14:29b)
There are lots of lessons that we can learn from this, but for today, let’s just look at one tiny point: “Then Peter got down out of the boat…”
Wait a minute. In the midst of a terrible storm, one that even from the safety of the boat makes us afraid, would we be willing to get out of the boat? But then, when Jesus told Peter to “come”, he truly had no choice but to obey, did he? After all, he HAD asked for the test. And so we find Peter stepping out of the safety of the boat, into the storm.
In the midst of our own storms, we also have little safety nets built around us. We have people – family and friends – who we rely on. We have our contingency plans. We have our medical care and our research and our documented and successful medical treatments. We have bank loans and unemployment and welfare. We have psychiatrists and counselors…And the list could go on and on.
But God calls us to step out of our safety nets, out into the storm.
For the same reason Jesus called Peter out of the boat: Because that boat couldn’t save him. One big wave and it would capsize. Only Jesus could save him, and in order to do so, Jesus needed Peter to put aside any other thing that he might be relying on.
In the face of our trials, whatever they currently may be, how can we step out of the boat?
By being willing to take that step of faith. In the heat of the storm, we need to put aside everything we have been relying upon. We need to step out of our safety nets and surrender ourselves, and our health/money/relationship/work/etc. problems to God and to His will.
Does this mean we shouldn’t pursue medical treatment? Counselling? Unemployment? Does this mean we shouldn’t go to our friends and family for much needed support? Does it mean that we shouldn’t look for a different means of transportation?
What it means, however, is that we shouldn’t put our faith in these things. Instead, we should put our trust in God, the only One who can calm our storms.
Stepping out into the wind and the waves is a scary thought; but let’s remember that when Peter did just that, he stopped bobbing along at the whim of the storm, and instead, he walked on the surface of it. When we’re willing to take that huge step in faith as well, we, too, will walk over the surface of our storm instead of bobbing along inside of it.
What about it, friends? Are you willing to step out of the boat and into the wind and waves? Believe me, the rewards are worth the leap of faith!
But why was it that only Peter was called out of the boat? After all, he wasn’t exactly alone in that storm…Join us next Tuesday for ‘Oceans Deep, Part 6’ to discover why the other 11 disciples stayed in the boat!
In His love
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Oceans Deep” mini-series, please click here.)