We’ve all had those “sinking moments” of our faith. It’s during those sinking moments that we will often flip through our Bibles, looking for our old friend Peter, that master of mess up’s when it comes to ‘how to do life with Jesus’. No one seemed to mess it up more than Peter. We love him because we can relate. He had every good intention but somehow he was constantly tripping himself up in the faith department. One of the things that constantly baffles me is that it was this guy whom God chose to be one of the great fathers of the faith in the New Testament. Somehow, somewhere, Peter ‘got it’ when it came to the mysteries of a life of faith.
What did he ‘get’? Look at Peter’s sinking moment:
Peter replied, "Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water." "Come on!" Jesus said. Peter then got out of the boat and started walking on the water toward him. But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. Right away, Jesus reached out his hand. He helped Peter up and said, "You surely don't have much faith. Why do you doubt?" When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down.
I can just picture Peter, speaking once again before thinking, or quite possibly he was thinking – thinking that he just might be willing to give this a try. I wonder how often we’ve made that same bold statement, “God, I’ll do this!”, only to find ourselves sinking into oblivion, over our head with the challenge, the project, the new start-up venture.
Once out on the water, Peter must have been far enough away from the boat that it freaked him out when he saw the wind. He probably wasn’t within jumping distance to make a jump back into the boat. And it must have been a pretty intense wind in order to affect Peter, a experienced fisherman, who most likely knew how to swim. If we’re going to live the exciting faith adventure,God will call us beyond “jumping distance” from our boat.
We know the story. Or do we? We read that Jesus reached out His hand to help Peter when he began to sink. And then there’s a little word we easily skip over: “WHEN Jesus and Peter got into the boat….” When…It almost denotes a certain period of time that passed. I like to think that Peter got up and continued to walk on the water, back to the boat. What was the real test of Peter’s faith? Maybe it was walking on the water. Maybe it was walking back through the wind – the very thing that caused him to tremble and falter in his faith in the first place.
Those sinking moments of our life God wants to turn into “back to the boat” moments – a journey where we get up, walk back through the wind, and realize that what we thought was an overwhelming challenge is simply part of taking a “walk with a Friend”.