Last Saturday, in ‘Oceans Deep, Part 5’, we saw that in order to walk over the surface of our storms instead of bobbing along at their will, we have to step out of our safety nets. We have to be willing to get out of the boat and into the heart of the storm!
But wait. Why was it that only Peter got out of the boat?
The Bible records that the “disciples” were in the boat, not just Peter: “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side…” (Matt 14:22), and these would be the same disciples who had walked for months with Jesus, witnessed miracle after miracle, the same ones who had just participated in the feeding of the 5000.
We also know that Jesus appeared to all of them, because the Bible records the following: “And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them…” (Matt 14:26,27); yet we only see one answering Jesus: “And Peter answered Him…” (vs. 28).
Yet the Bible doesn’t record that Jesus commanded each of them to get out of the boat, for only to Peter did He say, “Come.” (vs 29), and then, only because Peter showed interest: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (vs 28).
So what we see here is that Jesus came to all of them, but He only commanded one to get out of the boat, and it was the one who responded to His initial call.
We often hear it said that God “pushes” us out of our comfort zone. I would suggest that though He does give us invitations, sometimes even gentle nudges for us to take that step in faith, God does not force us to go where we are not comfortable going. He understands, and it is only to those who are willing to surrender to Him that He extends the invitation to walk across the surface of the storm.
Were the other 11 disciples disciplined for not getting out of the boat?
Not at all. Matthew records that the moment Jesus and Peter got back into the boat, the storm calmed: “And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (vs 32); thus, all 12 disciples received the benefit of the miracle. The storm stopped for all 12.
So why would it be, then, that Peter was called to walk on the water, when the others were allowed to stay safely in the boat?
Let me ask you a different question: Who was the most blessed by this encounter with Jesus? The 11 disciples who stayed in the safety of the boat? Or Peter who did what was humanly impossible in walking over the surface of the storm?
Friends, God calls us to higher and higher levels of faith. He desires to have us experience Him on deeper and deeper levels; but when we aren’t quite ready to go where He would have us to go, we are not penalized. The only thing that happens is that we don’t experience God as significantly as we might otherwise have done!
Not ready to give up the safety of your boat? Not ready to take that extra step in faith and abandon our safety nets? It’s okay. God doesn’t penalize us. Nonetheless, the rewards of taking the opportunities He gives us to grow our faith are beyond comprehension, for it is only then that we, too, can experience the humanly impossible by walking over the surface of our storms.
Join us next? For ‘Ocean’s Deep, Part 7’.
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.)