In a recent Bible study our group was talking about the life of Jesus and His ministry on Earth. Most of our group was very familiar with the miracles and amazing acts of Jesus during His time spent with the disciples so we dug deep into the Word and tried to think about the passages in a fresh, new way. When we got to Matthew 14 and began discussing Jesus calling Peter out onto the waves our discussion got interesting.
Just in case it has been a while since you have read this passage, I’ll give a quick summary. Jesus and the disciples had just finished feeding the five thousand and they were ready to move on to the next town. Jesus told the disciples to get the boat ready and that He would be back after he had some alone time for prayer. The disciples did as they were told, but a storm began to brew and it pushed the boat away from the shore before Jesus came back from praying. Suddenly the disciples saw a figure walking on top of the waves toward the boat (spoiler alert: it was Jesus!). At first they thought it was a ghost, but Jesus calmed their fears in verse 27: “It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter heard the Lord and called back to Him and said: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus did and Peter stepped out on the waves, storm still raging around them. But as he was walking, Peter looked around, became afraid, and started to sink. He cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus put out His hand to lift Peter out of the waves saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” They walked back to the boat and Jesus calmed the storm around them and everyone was amazed.
Now, until this Bible study I thought that Peter began to sink because his faith in God’s ability to save him had wavered. That still may be true but after discussion with the group it became clear that there may be more to the story.
If Peter had doubted the Lord’s ability, he wouldn’t have stepped out onto the water in the first place. Peter took his first few steps with confidence. Only when he looked around and noted the wind and storm did he start to sink. Peter realized he could not do it on his own; he doubted he had the skills necessary for the task at hand and that is why he began to sink. The Lord was there to show him that He is always in control and directs our paths accordingly.
At Haven of Rest we believe we are the hands and feet of Christ and it is one of our goals to reach lives for Jesus though our programs. But it is also important to remember that sometimes feet fail, as Peter’s did in Matthew 14. With God’s grace and mercy we can be lifted back up out of the torrent of our lives and placed on the solid ground of His path. This can be a hard lesson to teach as we share God’s Word with people at the Mission. Peter began to sink when he looked around and began to fear all the things around him and forgot the Creator of heaven and earth was standing right in front of him. Not that we should travel through our lives with blinders on, but when we look around we should see that He is in charge of the storms and sunshine alike and will be walking with us through our whole journey. Please pray that those we serve at the Mission would keep their eyes on Jesus and keep their steps confident as they walk through life with Christ on His path for their lives.