Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
6/28/11 at 01:09 AM 0 Comments

Walking on Water: Maybe We’ve Got Peter All Wrong

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This morning I was reading Matthew 14:22-33—about Jesus reaching out His hand to Peter when Peter demonstrated his lack of faith in the “walking on water” story.

We are all quick to point a finger at Peter’s “lack of faith” when he became afraid of the wind and the waves. In fact, I’ve heard many sermons on Peter’s obvious weakness when he peered out at the storm and remembered his limitations.

But what if we step outside of this story for a minute and really take a look at Peter’s faith? Can you even fathom stepping out of a boat in the middle of the raging sea? In my estimation, that first step took more faith than I will ever know! I wouldn’t have enough faith to step out of the boat if the water was as smooth as glass, let alone raging in the fury of a storm not yet spent.

That’s why I admire Peter for the great faith it took to step out of the boat—to trust Jesus’ word when He said, “Come.”

Many of our life situations begin with great faith…but then the daily-ness of life reminds us how ordinary we are and how tumultuous the world around us is. It’s so easy to lose heart and lose faith. To say to ourselves, What was I thinking? I can’t do this!

When we take our eyes off of Jesus—and see all the things that could go wrong, and how weak and puny we are—our faith becomes weakened, disabled. Let’s face it—the world around us is crazy! We can’t accomplish anything at all in our own strength.

But the great faith that began with that first step continues with the outstretched hand. When Peter looked around him, he realized his own weakness and mortality and lack of power. But as soon as he looked back at Jesus, he saw the outstretched hand, and reached out and grasped it! And in that very clasp was his salvation.

Could it be that Jesus allowed Peter to look away intentionally, so he would realize that the sea was too powerful for him? That, alone, he was powerless to save himself?

Are you looking at the impossibility of all that surrounds you? Do you feel small and weak and perhaps overpowered? Are you very aware of your inability? Look to Jesus, my friend! Reach out to Him. Trust in His power, and you will make it safely to the other side.

Judi Ann Ehresman, author of The Long Road Home, On the Wings of Grace, Where Two Agree (OakTara), loves to write encouraging, faith-building fiction. She is married to the husband of her youth, has been a popular oral reader of her short stories and poetry at children’s and women’s banquets and teas, and is currently enjoying the grandparenting years of her life.

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