Last Tuesday, in ‘Oceans Deep, Part 6’, we saw that God doesn’t penalize us when we aren’t quite ready to take that extra step in faith and abandon our safety nets. 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.
But let’s not forget that when Peter stepped out of the boat, he sank: “Peter had come down out of the boat…and beginning to sink…” (Matt 14:29-30)
Yes, in our minds, Peter sinking seems like such a hugely important part of the story. So gigantic in fact, that we fail to see what transpired before he sank: “And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” (vs 29)
The fact is, Peter actually walked on the water before he sank!
How and why?
Perhaps the how and why question can be best answered by looking to the circumstances that transpired when Peter started to sink: “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink…” (vs 30)
Peter only began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus! When the storm caught and held his attention, he began thinking about how fierce was the wind and how boisterous were the waves crashing around him, and he became afraid! Only then did he begin to sink.
It is important to remember that responding to a call of faith doesn’t ensure that we won’t sink into the wind and the waves. What ensures that the storm will not overcome us is keeping our eyes upon Jesus. It is in ignoring the wind and the waves, ever trusting in the Creator of all things, that we can be sure our feet will continue to walk over the storm!
But sinking in the face of the storm is a human thing to do, and I am so glad that the Bible records this particular part of the story. It isn’t that it is wrong to look at the storm; it isn’t that God cannot bless us when we take our eyes off of Him; it is simply that we can weather the storm without fear, without sinking, if we ignore it and put our eyes upon Him instead, ever believing that He holds us in the crook of His hand, that His love for us is never failing, that He will carry us through.
So what do we do when we take that step of faith, but the circumstances begin to overwhelm us and we start to sink?
We do what Peter did: “…and beginning to sink [Peter] cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (vs 30b); to which Jesus responded: “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (vs 31)
It doesn’t matter how badly we fall into the trap of being distracted by the storm; the moment we cry out to Jesus, He responds by stretching out His hand and catching us, and His only reprimand is gentle: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (vs 31b)!
Let’s remember this as we consider answering Jesus’ call to come out of the safety of the boat. Let’s remember that we will only be able to walk across the surface of our storms if we keep our eyes upon Jesus. The moment we begin to doubt, however, all we have to do is call out to Jesus and He will reach out and save us.
Join us next Saturday for ‘Ocean’s Deep, Part 8’
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.)