Check out today’s reading in Matthew 14:22-36!
I’ve always grown up with a swimming pool in my backyard. It was the start of my Olympic career, where I trained to be a mermaid and where I attempted to walk on water. I wish I was kidding when I say, between hitting myself numerous times with a body board and thinking a surfboard was made for the pool, I can’t count the times I would try to make the leap from the top of the board to the top of the water. I guess I finally gave up on my attempt to set a World Record by being the youngest to walk on water, and eventually opted to train for my Olympic debut. But that’s another story for another day.
Before I go any further, let’s take a musical break because this song is everywhere I turn. I thought the first 10 times hearing it was coincidence, but on the 11th time, I knew I should pay a little more attention.
Take a quick listen below –
Great song, right?! There are so many lines I could pick at, but let’s focus on these two lines:
Can’t see nothing at all, but Your outstretched arms, Help me believe it. Though I falter, You got me walking on water.
In Matthew 14:22-36, we read of Jesus walking on water.
Immediately he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.But immediatelyJesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come.”So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
While doing research on this text, I read a few different commentaries and sermons. Some people praise Peter for stepping out, while others criticize him. I don’t think Peter was wrong for stepping out, and honestly, I appreciate his move. Had it not been for his boldness, we wouldn’t have seen a powerful miracle. Sure Peter lost his focus (who wouldn’t?!), but Christ was there to rescue him. I’ve heard 113 sermons on this passage (I’m *slightly* exaggerating) and each time, I’m blown away by his audacious behavior. Water is moving all around and here comes Jesus out of nowhere. Then you’ve got wild-eyed Peter jumping out of the boat and walking towards him. That’s crazy, radical faith! If Peter’s mustard seed can let him walk on water towards Jesus (literally), can you imagine what our faith has the power to do?
When I read this passage, I always look at Peter’s faith in the moment of his decision to leave the boat. I desire his crazy, radical, wild faith. If I’m being more honest, I don’t have enough faith to stay in the boat. I’ve stayed in the boat on several occasions, and it was great, safe and secure, and that’s the problem. In the past few months, I’ve taken huge steps of faith and each step required a firm grip on Christ as He led the way across the waves. I’ve had people praise my moves and others call me ridiculous – but all that falls flat when I turn and look at my personal growth. It was scary (and still is) but had I not stopped when I did, I would’ve missed significant opportunities.
I struggle to put into words how I knew I was at a point of moving in a different direction. It’s easiest explained this way – I came to a point that I knew I required a deeper faith for a different season. We grow in and out of seasons, and the key to knowing when a season is changing is being in touch with the Creator of them. We don’t choose our seasons, but we do choose where we place our trust. We do choose how we come in and out of them, and it’s only by grace we are able to make the jump. Some seasons are filled with good and others with pain, but without balance, we can’t grow evenly. Getting uncomfortable for God’s will propels us into greater depths. I could have easily let opportunities pass me, but I was too comfortable in my comfort. I couldn’t sit any longer knowing there was more of me and more of God on the horizon. It’s because of those water walking moments, I’ve experienced greater peace in my challenges. It doesn’t mean life is easy-breezy, beautiful, it instead means life is more substantial, more authentic and we crave a deeper hunger for God.
So, if you’re sitting on the side of the boat, comfortable in your comfort but longing for more, can I challenge you? Just put your foot down and walk. It’s scary looking to the horizon with questions and fears, but it’s through the mist your longing soul you find greater peace. And when you begin to falter, His arms are outstretched. The most solidifying thing about stepping out onto the shakable ground is serving an unshakable God. The winds might roar, the sea might pull and the waves might crash, but we can keep walking into the depths because His very presence known.