“Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried. At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:29-31)
Oh, this is me! Noticing the strong wind all the time and sinking down. Crying out for Jesus and Jesus comes! But how more blessed it would be — how much more blessed I would be — if I kept my eyes on Him and only Him, not in fear of my surroundings but in faith.Isn’t this the same message in Mark? “Peace, be still!… Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40) Also Matt. 8:24-27!
The storms on the Sea of Galilee are horrific! The winds howl without warning down from the ravines onto the lake with terrifying force. Peter climbing out of that boat was really something! This wasn’t a few whitecaps, this was the Perfect Storm!
So here’s the thing. Peter did start in faith, and Jesus saved him even when he was afraid. But notice that Peter didn’t lose his faith completely. He still cried out to Jesus to save him, and Jesus did. But when he “noticed the strong wind” that’s when he was afraid and started to sink. It is better to keep believing by focusing on Jesus and His nature than looking at our problems and starting to sink. If we are afraid we cry out to Jesus for help and he does it, but how much more powerful it would be to walk in faith. How much stronger we would be the next time because we keep our eyes trained on Jesus and his strength He is the lord of the storm and the sea, we do not have to be afraid.
I do this all of the time! I do believe and I am constantly crying out to Jesus to save me. Why? Because pretty much all I am noticing is the strong wind! But when something is big to me it sure as heck isn’t big to God. He understands — but it isn’t threatening Him. He’s walking on the water. And if I keep my attention on Him and Him alone, then I can walk on the water too. And you know what? This isn’t just a matter of solving my problems and being blessed. It’s a matter of putting Him first in my life. Not other pleasures, not other desires, and certainly not problems. Him.
In prayer, picture yourself walking on the water with Jesus beckoning you. Taste the salt water, feel the screaming wind, hear the roar of the waves. Now concentrate on Jesus’ face and Jesus’ face alone. Let your other senses fall silent. Watch Jesus hold out his hands to you, his nail-scarred hands. Close the distance looking at nothing but him. Reach out your hands and feel his strong carpenter’s hands close around yours and pull you in close. What does Jesus say? What does He do? How do you respond?
When you have finished your meditation, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you focusing on Jesus in spite of your problems?
- Are you sinking but crying out for Jesus’ help?
- How will you turn over your problems to Jesus from now on?
- What would it look like if you stopped worrying and really trusted Him instead?