Peter: When We Step Out On the Water

“Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 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, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’

And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.'” – Matthew 14:25-33, NKJV

Even as a young kid, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water used to thrill and challenge me. I could always picture it so vividly. The dark blue waves crashing against the boat, the figure in the distance, the most likely drenched disciples shivering not only from the cold but also from fear before they knew Who it was walking towards them. Then Jesus, coming closer and into focus, His face calm and His gait steady even as He walked upon the turbulent sea. Then suddenly, there was Peter on the water as well, walking towards Him. An ordinary man doing something extraordinary through the God-given faith in him. It wasn’t something that Peter was capable of on his own – Peter just had to step out in the faith that He had in Jesus, and God was the One who made it possible.

“But He said, ‘The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.'” – Luke 18:27, NKJV

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” – Luke 1:37, NKJV

Faith is key to following God and submitting to what He wants to do in our lives. But following Peter’s first few steps onto water, we see in this story that Peter was only full of faith and unafraid if he kept Jesus before Him and focused on only Him. As soon as he was distracted by the wind around him and had taken his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink. His faith faltered, and he needed Jesus to rescue him.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6, NKJV

“Now faith is the substances of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1, NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'” – Mark 9:23, NKJV

Doubting or allowing fears to take up space and residency in our mind rather than looking to God leads to us sinking in our walk with Him, and not being able to experience all He has waiting for us. We want to move forward, to not look at the storm going on all around us and to instead keep our eyes on Him. We can trust Him, because He wants to teach and show us so much, to do miraculous things in our hearts and lives. We can know that He has good in store for us, since He tells us that Himself in that famous verse from Romans 8:28. 

Like Peter, we just need to take those steps of faith. And God won’t tell us “Come,” if it isn’t the right time. He knows the bigger plan and knows each step of your journey better than even you do, and He’s walking with you – He’s always with you, and that’s also something He promises us in His Word.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28, NKJV

 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10, NKJV

But even though His desire is that we trust ourselves to Him completely, when we stumble, falter or sink instead of believing, He’ll keep us above the waves if we call upon His name. He still wants to hold us steady in the storm, give us strength to keep on going and give us the grace He so freely grants even when we don’t deserve it. We can rest assured that He will always be the One to rescue us and save us from drowning when we cry out to Him.

There’s a detail in the scripture from Matthew above that I like, where it says that Jesus stretched out His hand immediately. He didn’t hesitate a moment when his child needed saving. God is there to catch us if we start sinking – the fears in our hearts can be banished when we know and believe that.

“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” – Psalm 91:15, NKJV 

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save.” – Zephaniah 3:17, NKJV

There isn’t anything He can’t do or anyone He can’t save. We can be children of much faith, not little, because the of the ways He has proved Himself in repeatedly. I want to encourage you to throw away the doubts that nag and to get out of the boat and start walking towards Him. Don’t stall, and just ignore the wind if it kicks up a fuss, which it often tends to do when there’s a storm brewing. But storms don’t have to control us or what we are capable of through Christ. Our God is so much stronger than any weather this world can throw at us! So, let’s keep on looking to Him. He is able to lead us across oceans.

Live It Out

Whenever there is fear or doubt in your heart, turn to His Word. Read scriptures that have reinforced your faith before and pray that He will calm you with His perfect truths. And remember to take steps and even leaps of faith with bold confidence in Him- you never know how big an effect the example of your strong belief can be to those around who need it.

Read the rest of this series here:

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