Vs 29-31 Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith”, he said, “why did you doubt?”
The world is in the middle of a storm right now. Fear is creeping in, as is confusion and uncertainty. I find myself struggling to know how to respond. I am someone who does not have the means to stock up on food and supplies. I am also someone who doesn’t need much. As I look around and read various reports on the severity of and best course of action for the pandemic, I find myself unsure of the right answer.
How are you doing with sorting through all the swirling information? Some people are stoic enough to ignore it. I am not. I am wondering so many things.
And then I thought of Peter. In a boat during a storm. I’m sure he was afraid that it would kill him. He could see Jesus out in the waves but he wasn’t exactly sure so he called out to Jesus and said that if it was really him, to call for Peter to come to him.
We want to check and be sure we are actually following Jesus before we step out from the familiar. (I didn’t say “step out from safety” because the boat was obviously not safe, but it was certainly more familiar than stepping out onto the waves!)
Jesus uttered a single word, “Come”. He didn’t try to cajole Peter, didn’t get offended by Peter’s question (What do you mean, “IF” it’s me???), didn’t offer more than Peter was asking. Peter said, “If it’s really you, tell me to come.” Jesus said, “Come.”
And with that, Peter stepped out of the boat.
How many times do we boldly step up, full of faith and enthusiasm, fulling intending to follow through? Then what happened? What changed?
Did the storm get worse? Did Jesus disappear? Did Peter suddenly realize he’d stepped out of the boat? Nope. To all three.
The only thing that changed was that Peter changed his focus. He focused on the storm rather than on Jesus. He focused on the problem rather than the solution.
(more on this another day)
Even so, as soon as Peter sank, (Oh boy! Do I ever know how that feels!) the text says that Jesus “reached out his hand.” It doesn’t say that Jesus “ quickly ran to where Peter was last seen”, “reached out his arm” or “his two hands” to grab Peter! Let that sink in.
Peter got distracted and afraid when he was close enough to Jesus that Jesus needed only to “reach out his hand” to rescue Peter. Jesus didn’t scold Peter for his lack of faith until AFTER he was safely back on his feet. And what had Peter prayed to summon such a hasty response? Was it a long, religious sounding prayer full of very righteous sounding phrases? Not even close! Peter was sinking in a storm! He cried out, “Lord, save me!” and IMMEDIATELY Jesus grabbed him!
My friends, when you feel afraid because the storm has distracted you, when you feel you are sinking beneath the waves of overwhelming information, there is no shame in crying out for help. Jesus is right there, no judgement, no hesitation, no distance. Words as simple as “Lord, save me” are all it takes and he will pull you back up from the turmoil and restore peace to your troubled mind.
Jesus is with us whether in calm or in storm and when you find yourself distracted and afraid, let him remind you that he continues to be right with you and will hold you throughout this storm.
Being a wave watcher will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and afraid. Keep your eyes on the one who can rescue us from the waves and find your peace in him.
Linda blends warmth, wisdom and humour into every presentation. Enjoy the ride!