I love Peter. He is loud, brash and constantly opens his mouth before he thinks. I can identify. He has moments of tremendous faith followed by moments of extreme pride and lack of understanding. Once again, I'm there! So I love to read of his experiences because I see so much of my own attitudes and faults there. I also see what he becomes and know that the One that began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
One of my favorite Peter-moments is when he gets to walk on the water. I mean, seriously, how COOL would that be? But what happens to Peter's faith? What can I learn from his experience? What can I learn about me and what can I learn about Jesus?
Without recounting the entire story found in Matthew chapter 14:22-33, let's start with Peter's request to come to Jesus walking on the water. Peter asks the Lord for an amazing opportunity and the Lord grants him this chance. Everything starts out fine as Peter locks eyes with Jesus and begins to, one step at the time, walk on the water.
Then a HUGE wave comes and splashes Peter in the face. All of a sudden, he can hear the wind howling and he begins to notice the humongous waves and he feels the rain pelting him. He starts to lose his focus, he takes his eyes off Jesus...he begins to sink. Then the Bible tells us this:
"Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of [Peter], and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'" Matthew 14:31
This is where I have heard pastor's say Peter should have stayed in the boat because of the rebuke he receives from Jesus. In my own head I heard these words with the tone of, "Geez, Peter, why couldn't you just stay where I put you?" Honestly, I'm sure Peter had thoughts similar to this. But Jesus wasn't speaking to Peter with that tone.
Instead I hear His compassion and see the love pouring from his eyes as He asks Peter about his lack of faith. In that tone I hear a touch of sadness. I hear Jesus say, "Oh, Peter, why did you doubt Me? I was right there the whole time."
Peter had the faith to ask BIG, he had the faith to step out of the boat, he even had the faith to take steps toward Jesus but then he lost his focus. He took his eyes off Jesus and stumbled. How many times have I done that? I start out fine but then waver as I doubt whether or not I "heard" God correctly. I lost my focus.
Now I find myself in Peter's shoes again. I have asked big and God has been faithful in providing me the opportunity. I have stepped out in faith towards the One who says, "Come!" But from here on out I have to ask myself...where am I going to focus my eyes? What am I missing out on right now because I am distracted by the wind and the waves?
I am determined that my eyes will stay locked with Jesus' and that I will continue on this awesome path He has put me on. I know the waves are there, I hear the wind but those things remind me of how much I need Him. They also remind me of what happens when I let the fear win. I sink.
Lord, help me to keep my focus on You and only You. Allow me to walk in the knowledge that if I start to sink, you will immediately reach Your hand to me and lift me up. You will walk with me the entire way, You will lead me to places I have never been and could never go without You. Lord, I am not satisfied where I am. I do not want to stay in the boat and wait for You to get to me, I want to run to You!