By Brooke Holt
"And Peter answered him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.' He said, 'Come.' So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me.' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" Matthew 14:28-31
In Peter’s mind, he had only one way to discern if it truly was Jesus walking towards them on the water. Much to the surprise of the other disciples, Peter asks to come out to Jesus. He asks to walk on the water! No one had ever done this before. The waves are crashing around the boat; the wind is howling continuously. Why would Peter make such a request?
Peter tested Jesus. Jesus affirmed his identity and told Peter to come and join him in the water-walking. Amazingly, Peter did just that. Because he was willing to ask Jesus the hard question and then risk getting out of the boat, Peter experienced a miracle for himself – the miracle of walking on the water. Unfortunately, this miracle ended when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and put them onto the storm. The wind felt so strong. The waves looked so big. How in the world was he standing on the water amid this wind and these waves?
With this shift of his eyes from Jesus to the storm, Peter began to sink. Talk about terrifying! Thankfully, Peter knew just what to do in this crisis. He cried out to Jesus and was immediately rescued as Jesus took hold of him and led him safely back to the boat.
Instead of being commended for his faith to get out of the boat, Peter was reprimanded for his lack of faith. With Jesus, Peter could walk on water, and he could have weathered the storm. How he fared was all about his focus – focus on the storm or focus on Jesus. One focus led to him sinking, and one focus led to the miracle of water-walking.
One can easily admire Peter or maybe even criticize him for his lack of faith, but Jesus would have you learn from this experience of Peter. Like him, you will face storms. How you weather those storms will also depend on where you set your eyes. Can you choose to look for Jesus in the chaos, the pain, and the turmoil, or will you put your focus on the problems and concerns instead of on Jesus? Setting your eyes on Jesus will allow you to experience his miraculous work in your life while setting your eyes on the storm will create fear. Faith or fear – which will you choose?
Jesus invites you to get out of your boat today, to experience a miracle with him, and to join him in water-walking. Maybe your water-walking is trusting him for provision, sending your children back to school, committing to working through the challenges in your marriage, or grieving the death of someone you love. We all face storms in this life, many we have experienced, and many yet to come. Jesus will come to you in every storm and ask you to keep your eyes on him, to trust him, and to walk through the storms with him.
Where are you looking today – at Jesus or at your storm? How does the Lord want to change your focus? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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