"Looking unto Jesus..."
The storm is greater and fiercer than these fishermen could have ever imagined. They have seen plenty of storms in their time, but none like this one. When seasoned men of the sea panic, it is bad. They have been rowing as hard as they can for quite some time, but now they realize that they are at the mercy of the storm. They have lost all of their bearings, and they strain to see how far they are from the shore. There is no darkness like being out on the black water with an ominous cloud bearing down on you. Even the best eyes can see nothing in this weather.
Suddenly, one of the sailors catches a glimpse of an image that frightens the bravest of them. There is a spirit or a ghost that is effortlessly walking on the water toward them. Brave men cower while others begin to row as hard as they can in the opposite direction. Suddenly, the ghost calls out and they recognize a familiar voice. It is Jesus! With surprise, relief, and still some fear, Peter says by faith, "Lord, if it is You, let me walk out to You." Jesus welcomes the step of faith and invites him out on the tumultuous sea. Peter hops over the side of the boat and lands on a solid surface. He begins walking toward Jesus with the look of shock on his face and a goofy smile reminiscent of a little baby taking their first steps. The other disciples are regretting that they did not follow suit.
In all of his joy, Peter suddenly notices what he sees around him instead of what he knows to be true. There is a storm still swirling around him, and he forgets that the One who empowered him to walk on the water has not gone anywhere. Peter starts focusing on the "facts" instead of living by faith. There is only one fact that matters a time like this: Jesus is still with You, and He is still on top of the storm. When Peter's faith sank, so did he. Panic sets in on the boat as the faithless spectators look on. As Peter goes under he looks up and sees Jesus and gurgles out a cry for help. He finally returned to his spiritual senses and put his trust in Jesus again. Surely a storm like this would wash him away in an instant except for the mighty hand of God. Jesus picks him up and saves him from his faithless demise. Here is a great question: how did they get back to the boat? Did Jesus carry Peter, or do you think that they walked together? I tend to believe they walked back.
We all enjoy this account of Peter, because we can relate so well. We start out so strong in our faith and feel invincible because of the power of God. However, like Peter, we start seeing the storms, the trials, and we feel the pressures of discouragement, fear and anger. So, we begin to sink. We sink in doubt, anger, embarrassment, and self-pity. Hopefully, it is then that we realize the problem is our lack of faith. We took our eyes off of Jesus. Jesus is not just the beginning of your journey; He is also the end. Faith does not just have a starting line; there is a finish line as well. The write of Hebrews said that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus because He is the author and finisher of our faith. Just as He is with you at the beginning, He will be with you at the end.
Paul said that we need to be confident in the fact that "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." God is not going to leave you hopelessly drowning in the waters of life if you call on Him by faith. He will empower you to get out of the boat and walk all the way with you to the shore if that is where He wants you to go.
May you have faith to walk on water today!