Friday, January 22, 2010

Walking on Water

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!” - Matthew 14: 28-30

Most people who were born and raised in America have heard some variation of the story of Jesus walking on the water. It’s a pretty amazing story, and one of his most famous miracles.

But the Jesus part of the story isn’t the most interesting to me.

The part that grabs me is Peter.

Peter walked on the water too! He wasn’t the Son of God. He wasn’t the messiah. He was a regular person just like us. The thing that made him uniquely able to do what he did was that he was acting on faith.

Jesus asks him to come down out of the boat and walk to him. And he does it. But after feeling the whipping wind he got scared and began to sink.

I don’t know about you… but the last time I tried to walk on water I didn’t “begin” to sink. I was immediately more wet than I little bit.

But not Peter. He began to sink.

This says some interesting things to me about the nature of faith.

First, there is an inverse relationship between faith and fear. The more afraid we are to do something, the less faith we have. And if we don’t have enough faith to fuel our actions over time then it becomes harder and harder to achieve our goals.

Secondly, faith doesn’t work in absolutes. When we become afraid we don’t immediately fail, we only start to sink. Sometimes if we live in fear for a long time we may even feel like we are drowning. But we don’t have to be perfect here. There are times along the path of purpose where we will become afraid or may hesitate. This may serve to delay our purpose (gotta rise to where you once were before you can move beyond) but they don’t derail them.

The only way that we become derailed is if we let fear win by deciding to give up on ourselves.

The third thing that I get from this is that in those moments of fear, where we feel like all hope is lost and that in any moment we will be drowned by the circumstances of our lives, we can do what Peter did. We can cry out to God, and God will reach down and give us that extra helping hand that we need.

Faith in this sense is staying focused on God and our purpose rather than allowing ourselves to be distracted by the winds of fear and circumstance.

This is one of those concepts that may be tough for someone who is not so sure about this whole God thing. But when you hear people who are very vocal about how God helped them overcome terrible things in life like addiction, illness, and the like or reach a seemingly impossible goal… this is probably where they are coming from.

They are saying that they have lived this first hand. They experienced that special helping hand at the times in their lives where they felt that all was lost.

That’s a pretty amazing concept.

Today’s Reading: Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14-22-36


  1. Yes, it is amazing. Great post.

  2. When we were children, we demonstrated this level of faith in our parents. Jumping into a pool of water betting that our parents will actually catch us once we jump, for example And our having to work through our fear through the affirmation of our parents ("Come on, I will catch you, I won't let you fall") and our own belief that they would actually do what they said (in this example, catch us). We had it then...we can reclaim it again as adults.


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