Walking on water

Matt. 14:25-31, “And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  We all know the story of Peter unsuccessfully walking on the water.  He started out determined but no sooner was he outside the boat than his confidence left him, and he started to sink.

We do that too, my friends.  Granted, we do not actually step out of a boat and walk on water, but the concept of the story still applies.  We live our lives in Him.  We read the Bible, pray and attend worship services, and so by all accounts, we are faithful.  We love God and Jesus Christ, and the Son is our example we strive to imitate.  In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us to do precisely that in 1 Cor. 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  Paul isn’t saying “Be like me,” but rather, “Be like Him.”  We know we fail miserably because of our weak, mortal, fallen state, but that does not stop us from trying.  People around us may even admire our Christian loyalty and speak highly of us in that regard.  Life is good, and despite the setbacks, we are unwavering in our commitment to Christ.

Then, one day, in the midst of one of the dark periods we have to navigate from time to time, Jesus comes walking across the water.  We feel His presence with us every moment, and while we have no reason to fear Him, we are concerned for our situation and call out to Him.  It is then that He says, “Come to me.”  Maybe it is a time when we are called to step out and do something we are a little afraid to try.  It could be signing up for a new degree, military service, mission work, a new job, or a different personal path in life.  Whatever the reason, we need to step out of the boat, our comfort zone, and “go for it.”  Jesus says, “Come to me.  Do not hesitate. Look at Me, and don’t be afraid.

We recite Phil. 4:13, as we confidently place one foot out of the boat, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Life is great, and we are excited about what lies ahead.  But, no sooner does the other foot join the one on the water than a wind rises.  A fierce wind, maybe even a storm, and just like that, we take our eyes off Jesus.  And when we do that, fear sets in, and fear is the destroyer of faith.  Our faith can no longer sustain us.  It can no longer serve to keep us afloat, and we begin to sink.  All the confidence is gone, and the beautiful future we were once set on suddenly disappears like a mirage in the desert.

Don’t let that happen to you.  Don’t the devil use a fierce wind to instill fear in you?  Don’t take your eyes off Jesus.  Keep reciting, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” putting one step in front of the other.  Jesus has not suddenly left you to a miserable, drowning fate.  He is still there, arms outstretched, ready to embrace you if you have not doubted, and even if you have.  And if you have doubted, Jesus is ready to grab your hand and pull you safely up out of the water – but only if you reach for Him.  Too often, we allow minor setbacks to deter us from our goal.  Too often, we allow ourselves to be distracted and then allow a seed of failure to be planted.  What if Peter was not distracted by the wind?  What if we are not distracted by it?  What could we achieve if we kept our eyes on Him?

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