Faith & Spiritual Drift: Do Something Crazy

Matthew 14: 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said . . .

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in
On to the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

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

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, You’ll never win!

 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”   32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

(Text: Matthew 14:28-33 NIV. Lyrics: Casting Crowns, “Voice of Truth” Mark Hall/Steven Curtis Chapman)

I’m beginning to realize more and more that most everything in the Bible is there for a reason, even this little story of Peter climbing out of the boat and walking to Jesus on the water. Yes, it obviously shows Jesus’ control and mastery of nature. Yes, it shows Peter’s depth of faith to even attempt to get out of the boat. But I believe there’s an allegorical story in these few passages applicable to anyone “treading water” in their lives, jobs, problems or relationships.

First of all, to have enough faith—in yourself, or in your abilities, or in God—to do something completely irrational. Jesus said to Peter, “Come.” He literally meant, “Come to me out here in the middle of the sea in the middle of this storm . . . on the water.” And Peter says . . .

“Okay.”

Remember, the other eleven apostles were in the boat with Peter. How crazy must this have seemed to them? But he did. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. How cool must that have seemed: To be able to pull off something so physically impossible?

But then life happened.

He looked around.

He started paying attention to his surroundings and to his predicament; to the world around him. That’s when he started to sink. He began to fail—flailing and foundering—under the weight of his own circumstances. He started to believe he wasn’t supposed to be doing what he was doing instead of believing in himself, his abilities and his God.

It’s what happens when any of us step out in faith in a decision, be it personal, relational, or work-related. Sure, it feels good to make the decision. It may even feel good to begin the undertaking. But then life happens: something doesn’t go as planned and you start to doubt your abilities. Or worse, the world begins to feed lies into your ear that you can’t/shouldn’t/won’t.

Your beliefs shift. Maybe you really can’t do this. You begin to pay attention to the waves (the difficulties and obstacles), the wind (the fears and criticisms of friends and loved ones), and the sea (the time, effort and discipline involved to be successful). Your focus shifts away from what truly brought you out here; your faith (in yourself and your ability and/or in God and His ability), and it’s not until you reconnect with that that you once again begin to rise above the reality that surrounds you.

For Peter, stepping out of the boat and towards his Savior, mentor and friend just seemed like the right thing to do. His circumstances should have told him “no”. I’m certain his friends told him “no” and probably called him crazy. Yet, leaps of faith often look like that from the outside: There is no rational way you should be able to pull this off.

Do you have a situation in your life right now, a choice to make between a conservative action and one that just seems so . . . out there? What does your “gut” tell you? Listen to it . . . often, that “still small voice” is your abilities, or God’s abilities through you, telling you to take that risk.

Jesus reached out and picked up a half-drowned Peter. His journey wasn’t over; not even close.

They walked back.

To the boat.

On the water.

Together.

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