“So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus.” (Matthew 14:29)
PETER GOT OUT OF THE BOAT! Yesterday (Troubled Waters, Part A) we looked at how Jesus rescued Peter from drowning after Peter took his eyes off of Jesus during his walk across the water. But how did Peter get there in the first place. Did he fall overboard? Was he pushed? Peter choose to get out of the boat.
“PETER GOT OUT OF THE BOAT!” I can see the chaotic scene in my head, hear the disciples screaming for Peter as the storm rages around their boat. It is 3am and they are exhausted from fighting against the wind and waves for hours. Then they look out into the storm and can add terror to their list of ailments as they think they see a ghost, because who, or what, could be walking across the water towards them in the middle of the night in the middle of a storm?! It is an impossibility! Then, Peter, realizing that it is Jesus, gathers his robes around him and steps over the edge of the safety of the boat (what little it was providing at the time) and jumps right into the wind stirred waters. They had to be looking at him like he was crazy! What was he thinking?! Was he suicidal? Not in the least. Peter was going to where Jesus was, in the middle of the storm. Peter was following what Jesus had commanded him to do.
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” (Matthew 14:28-29)
The disciples had no control over the weather that night and they were fearing for their lives. In the same vain, we don’t get to choose our circumstances. No matter how hard we may try to manipulate things there will be days when we are huddled in our boats riding out the storm. When we find ourselves there we have two choices. We can choose to be like Peter, follow the Lord’s command and “come” which means stepping out of the boat right into the middle of the storm or we can take the safe route and huddle in the boat like the rest of the disciples. God wants us to choose Him. He can’t make us get out of the boat, but He is there among the thunder and lightning and driving rain bidding you to “come on in.” Jesus saved all of them that night, but in the process Peter sought out Jesus and was the only one who got to walk on the water.
Some will say that Peter failed because as he “saw the wind” he began to sink. But it was Peter’s willingness to risk failure that helped him to grow. His faith and trust in Jesus and His power and promises grew exponentially that night as Peter had an intimate, personal encounter with Jesus right in the middle of the storm. Theodore Roosevelt says “It’s not the critic who counts;” (the disciples sitting in the boat saying “Is he nuts?”) “not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.” (“Peter sank, if I would have gone out there I would have kept my eyes on Jesus and run over there to him in half the time.”) “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Ignore your critics. Making the choice to follow Jesus out where the sea is high and you lose your footing is a hard and scary choice. It goes against every fiber of your being but it’s where Jesus is and he has commanded us to “Come.” So I will go, out into the crashing waves, out into the deep to meet Jesus. If that means trying and failing, at least I have failed while trying.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
-Oceans (Where Feet May Fail,) Hillsong United