Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “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!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:25-33
Been thinking a lot about these verses lately. What made Jesus decide he was going to walk on water? What must it have been like to be on that boat and see a man walking on water? Why did they think it was a ghost? Was Jesus glowing? How did the disciples feel when they found out it was Jesus? Why was it only Peter who wanted to walk on the water? Why couldn’t Peter just keep his eyes on Jesus? What must it have felt like when Jesus took his hand and stopped him from sinking?
So many questions!!! But this part I know… Jesus could walk on the water, without sinking! Yes, I know, he’s Jesus! But I think he was also modeling something so important. He was showing us what can be done if we have full, absolute, 100% trust in God.
So how is it that Peter started sinking? I know my mind wanders. I sometimes, (well, most of the time), start overthinking or listening to thoughts I shouldn’t be listening to. The evil one loves to whisper words of doubt in your ear. He loves to see us sink!
So why is it so easy for us to doubt? Those thoughts creep in like a cat stalking it’s prey. Before we know it, we’re concentrating less on what God says and more on what the evil one is saying. I remember a close friend explaining to me how easy it is to physically push someone down to the ground than it is to pull them back up to standing. And that’s exactly what thoughts of doubt do. They shove us to the ground. And we sit there thinking, I’ll never be able to get up! (Especially when you get older! Let me tell you, the struggle is real if I’m having to get up off the ground!) All joking aside though, it’s difficult to bring ourselves out of those times of doubt. But the bible says…
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Making every thought obedient to Christ and turning our thoughts back to him.
I’m visualizing when Peter starts sinking. Peter had say, “Lord, save me!” And he had to make a decision to grab the hand of Jesus, to put his thoughts back on Jesus. And it says immediately Jesus reached out his hand to pull Peter back up. “You of little faith! Why did you doubt?” I can almost hear a little sweet, friendly chuckle there. Jesus is saying, see how I did it? I just trusted. I just had faith.
Then I wonder, once Jesus took Peter’s hand, and Peter stopped sinking, did they walk on the water back to the boat? We know that Peter walked to him on the water, but the bible never says how Peter got back to the boat. The next verse only says…
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32
I’d like to think that once Peter took Jesus’s hand, Jesus from then on did not let go. He walked with Peter, on the water, through that wind and turmoil Peter was so scared of, and got him back to the safety of the boat.
So, believing and trusting. Asking Jesus for help. And believing and trusting. And when those doubts start creeping in again, ask Jesus for help. Like the man who’s child was possessed by the unholy spirit in Mark 9:21-24…
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can?'” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
The boy’s father says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Re-read that. He says he does believe, then in the same breath asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief… his doubts!
I’ve run into a lot of doubt lately in my thoughts and life. I’ve been praying a specific prayer for years that God still hasn’t answered. And, just recently, I almost gave up. I started doubting it will ever happen. And that would have been a life altering choice for me. But I think God had me write this blog just at the right time. I remembered to say, “Lord, save me!” And I made a conscious decision to put my thoughts on him and take his hand so he could bring me back to the truth, to faith, to trust, and to remember that anything is possible for the one who believes.
Even walking on water!!