Walking on Water, Isac Goulart, 2002
I just love Peter's character in the Bible. He's the charge-full-speed-ahead guy, the act-first-think-later guy, the I-know-what-I-believe-and-I'm-not-afraid-to-tell-you-even-if-it-means-I-put-my-foot-in-my-mouth guy.
In a boat full of guys who cried ghost when they saw Jesus walking on the water, he's the "hey,-I-want-to-do-that,-too" guy. So Peter says, "If you're really Jesus, you can make me walk on water, too." (Matt. 14:22-33, Forgive the loose paraphrase.)
Now if that had been me, I would have taken that thought on faith and stayed in the boat, but not Peter.
Jesus answers, "Okay Peter, if you want to walk on the stormy sea, go ahead and hop overboard." And (I love this part) Peter did! Eyes on Jesus, Peter starts to walk on water.
But then Peter takes his eyes off Jesus. (I like to think he's looking over his shoulder yelling "Hey guys, look what I can do!) And in that moment, he catches sight of the turbulent water, feels the whip of the wind. Suddenly a terrible thought occurs to Peter. He realizes that people can't walk on water. As a matter of fact, people have a tendency to sink and drown. Even before the thought had fully formed, waves began to swallow Peter.
Terrified, Peter screams out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus reaches out to catch Peter and says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
This is the part that's really been rolling around in my mind lately. What did Peter doubt? Was he doubting himself? Of course not. There was no possibility that Peter could walk on water on his own. He was doubting God. He took his eyes off Jesus for one second, just long enough to see how impossible it was for him to take the journey he'd just begun and doubt attacked.
I'm a writer. Sometimes the publishing world seems like a stormy sea. And sending a precious manuscript that you've been working on for years feels a little like jumping overboard on faith that we are somehow going to walk on water.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus, we may even manage to take a few steps. We may even start to think, "Hey I'm pretty good at this writing thing." And that's when we catch sight of the churning sea and remember that people can't walk on water. We really weren't cut out for this writing life and it would have been a lot safer to just stay in the boat.
Whether you're a writer or not I'm sure you've had moments where you cried out to God for help. What did I get myself into? God, I'm in over my head and sinking fast! I've had a lot of what-made-me-think-I-could-do-this moments lately.
I can just see God, as he reaches out to rescue me ... again, shaking his head saying, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?" But what I too often fail to realize is I never could do this, or anything else of value, without Him. Self-doubt does not apply. When I doubt, I'm doubting God. There is no room for doubt in faith. They don't fit together. We've got to keep our eyes on Jesus!
I was teaching AWANA the other night and a little girl told me this quote: Don't let the storm tell you how big it is. Instead tell the storm how big God is. I'm not sure who to credit this quote to, but I love it. We've got to keep our eyes on Jesus and tell those waves our God is bigger than anything they can throw at us.
And then we can walk on water!