I was thinking this morning about the narrative out of Matthew 18 where the disciples were out on the lake, caught in a storm, thinking they were all going to drown, and Jesus come to them walking on the water.
Peter says, “Lord, if it’s really you, command me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus says, “Come.” And, bless his heart, Peter takes that first step out of the boat, and then another. And things are going great. But then Matthew says “he noticed the strong wind.” He takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the next big wave headed for him.
And it dawns on him: “I can’t do this! What was I thinking?” Have you been there with Peter? I certainly have. If you’re a follower of Jesus, it’s a pretty sure bet that at some point in your life he will call you to step out of your boat, out of your comfort zone. Peter doesn’t begin to sink until he starts looking around at the wind and the waves. Taking our eyes off Jesus, and focusing on the difficult circumstances will cause us to get under our problems. But when we cry out to Jesus, he catches us by the hand and raises us above the seemingly impossible surroundings.
That’s the way he works. And when we respond to that call, when we begin to walk on water, that’s when fear hits us. We take our eyes off the Savior and that’s when we begin to sink like a rock.
Remember two things about this story. First, Jesus comes to us across the storms of life. No matter how dark it seems, no matter how alone we feel, Jesus never forsakes his own. At the moment we need him most, he will be with us. I know some of you are facing difficult storms right now. I pray that you hear the voice of Jesus saying to you, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
And second, remember it takes the power of God to walk on water. You can’t do it on your own. Are you a water walker? Here’s how you can tell. By identifying what you are doing today that you cannot do apart from the power of God. Think about that. If you cannot identify anything in your life that requires God, then you really don’t need God. If that’s the case, you’re still stuck in the boat. And your boat is sinking
So in what ways is God asking you to step out of the boat? It was Helen Keller who said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all.”
Dennis Bradley – Retired pastor, Army major, banjo player.