Have you ever noticed that in the story of Peter walking on the water, the main thing Peter is remembered for is when he sank into the waves? This story in Matthew 14 tells how Peter and the other disciples were in a boat on the lake one night and from their boat they saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter was so excited by the sight that he called out to Jesus and said, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to walk out to you.” Jesus replied, “Come.” That is, to walk on the water! Without hesitation, Peter left the secure footing of the boat and stepped onto the water. And he walked!
The story goes on to tell the part that most people remember most. The part about Peter sinking as a result of becoming distracted by the stormy wind. But did that make Peter a failure? No way! Peter took his eyes off Jesus for a moment, that’s true. But at least he got out of the boat! We don’t see the other disciples stepping out of their security to chance walking on water with Jesus! UH-uh. Even though Jesus did point out to Peter that his lack of faith caused him to sink, he did it while he was reaching down to pull him back to his feet. I can’t help feeling that Peter’s faith was strengthened by the experience, even if he had to get a little wet.
Missing Opportunities to Grow
Do we ever get too secure sitting in the boat? The “boat” can be our home, church, job, or even a ministry? But if we never step out of it to take a chance to walk with Jesus on new waters, we may be missing opportunities to grow. There is always a possibility of sinking, but Jesus will be there to pull us back up.
Recently, I saw an example of this when an elderly man was asked to perform for a local musical program. He was a bit nervous and he knew that his singing didn’t come as easy as it had in earlier years. But rather than stay in the boat of the past, he opened the program with a prayer asking for God’s blessing and stepped out on the water. His music was a blessing as the listeners not only heard inspirational songs, but maybe more important, saw the inspiration of someone who refused to stay in the boat.
Do you need to step out of the boat? If so, pray for strength and go for it! Walk! Yes, there’s a chance you may begin to sink, but Jesus will be there for you as He was for Peter, ready to pull you to your feet again.