“And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (Matthew 14:29-32)
I read this passage this morning while overlooking the ocean. The wind is strong today and the waves are huge. These conditions made it very easy to put myself in Peter’s place. Would I have reacted the same? Do I react the same when circumstances seem scary and out of control? The answer is I am learning to react differently. In fact, I am learning to praise Him in the midst of the wind and huge waves. Sounds strange and not normal. The expected reaction should be panic and trying to figure a way out. However, this pattern leads to sinking and a figurative drowning in anxiety. Jesus calls this out in Peter as “little faith and doubt”.
Earlier, I read Paul David Tripp’s words, “Anxiety is God-forgetting”. Isn’t that a wonderful definition? He goes on to say “In all those moments when life is out of your control, it is not out of his control.” As Peter stepped out of the boat, his life was not under control, he literally was walking on water. He however was walking towards Jesus. But when he saw the reality around him, he begin to sink in fear. I love his response though, “…and beginning to sink he cried out…” (vs. 30). Peter cried out to the only One who could save him. Who do you cry out to when the waves and wind circumstances of life seem to surround you?
Look what happens next. “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him…” (vs. 31). What I noticed this morning was that it never says that Jesus let go of Peter. It wasn’t until they got back into the boat that the sea calmed down. So the walk back to the boat held the same reality. What mattered was who was holding onto Peter. Do you trust that He holds you too?
Sometimes the response of Jesus in our situations does not feel like He has ahold of us at all. I would ask, are we trusting only in what we can see? We read in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “…for we walk by faith,not by sight.” Peter got out of the boat based on faith in Jesus, whom he could literally see. But seeing was not enough, his reality made him fearful. Like us, Peter forgot who he was walking towards. That is so easy to do, but we must cry out to our Savior. He may not calm the wind right away, but I wholeheartedly believe He will never let you go. Waves and wind are much easier to walk on when you know He has ahold of you because He loves you. He proved this love for all of us on the cross. Cry out today and trust Him.
”When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.” Psalm 91:15.