Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 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,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”- Matthew 14: 22-31
I see myself in Peter most often. I have moments of audacious faith, followed almost immediately by doubt. In Matthew 14, Peter is the one who comes up with the crazy idea to meet with Jesus on the water. It’s an odd affirmation of Christ, but Peter must have needed to do something crazy in order to confirm Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
Peter asks Jesus to protect him in his water-walking confirmation of faith. Jesus honors Peter’s request. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, Peter begins to sink. I know we’ve all heard this story, using that exact moment to remind us to continually keep our eyes on our Savior. But until today, I had not thought much about Jesus’ rebuke.
“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”...
I almost hear the voice of my Savior laughing a bit right then. "Seriously, Peter?! You wanted proof, and I gave it to you as you walked on water. Why, even for a moment, did you doubt me? You were already on the water!"
Why do I doubt God after I have already taken a leap of faith? Why do I doubt Christ’s deity, power or promises when He’s already proven faithful?
I wish I could have a glimpse of what words, if any, were exchanged once Jesus pulled Peter back to his feet. They still had a boat to board. And the waves didn’t die down until they were on that boat. Maybe Peter was silent, contemplating his doubt. Maybe he enjoyed meaningful conversations with Christ. Whatever happened between the water becoming walkable for the second time and Peter placing his feet back on the boat, I’m almost certain Peter did not take his focus off of Christ.
When I start to doubt, I’m going to remember that Christ really is in control. He had the power to allow a mere human a water-walking, faith-testing moment that changed Peter’s perspective. But that’s not where the lesson ends. There were others on that boat. Peter was the only one who made an audacious request. When everyone witnessed the event, the only words they could utter were, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Lord, may I have the courage to walk on the waters you have for me. May my eyes never drift away from You. And may all who witness my walk of faith agree that You are indeed the Son of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This blog was originally published on 4/20/15.
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives." Jeremiah 17:5-6
Is God really enough for me? That's an answer I intellectually know to be "yes", but after some heart-searching, I sense is not always true for me. Ouch. Admitting that I rely on what I can immediately see, or what I can do in my own strength leaves me wondering if God really is enough for me.
When I'm wrestling with the worries of finances, future plans, unmet expectations, and unanswered prayers, I let my circumstances overshadow what I know to be true about God. He is faithful. I say that with confidence. Not just because the Word says so, but because I have seen Him move throughout my life and countless other people's lives. So what allows me to slip back to a place where the enemy can whisper lies that linger in my head and mess with my mind?
There are two reasons why I believe this happens:
1) I've sat down my shield to pick up something new and shiny. ("Oooo! This worry looks good. What shield of faith? This worry is right here in front of me. I can't resist picking it up!")
2) I'm running with purpose for God and the enemy wants to derail me.
Either option leaves me disheartened and distracted from what God has called me to do. Thankfully, God is onto satan's schemes and warns us that the enemy will be on the prowl. I'm not powerless though. As my pastor likes to say, we pick up our cross daily because we most likely dropped it yesterday.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
Did you catch what it says in verse 16? We are being renewed day by day. How do we get renewed? It is through prayer, time in God's Word, and focusing our thoughts on the One who is in control that we go from a place of drought and doubt, to a place of peace and hope. While this answer is one that you've most likely heard before, I want to assure you that there's a reason why... IT WORKS! Let me add my own disclaimer: praying, reading the Bible, and focusing on God will not bring all financial worries to an end. It will not guarantee a beach house or mountain retreat in my future. It will not promise the end to trials and really dark days. But it will close in the gaps.
Jeremiah 17 doesn't leave us in the desert. There is a promise for those who hope in the Lord: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (vs. 7-8)
Born with a severe case of wanderlust, I'm always searching for new adventures and sharing those stories here.