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 immediately Jesus 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.” (Matthew 14: 23-33, ESV)
Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus walking on the water. For me, it is an awesome reminder of Christ’s power. It is also a very convicting story when I stop and think about Peter’s response.
Like the other eleven apostles, Peter could have chosen to remain in the boat. Even though the wind and the waves were against the boat, the boat was still the safest place to be. And yet, Jesus stood outside the boat, on the waves. Peter’s heart yearned to be near to the Lord as he asked Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” After receiving Christ’s invitation, Peter stepped out, and became the only other man recorded in Scripture to walk on water.
There are many times in my life when I feel like things are against me. I do not feel like I am moving forward; in fact, I’m fighting just to stand my ground. I feel distant from God, knowing He hasn’t forsaken me, but feeling that He is not as near as I’d like. In those times, it is an encouragement to remember Peter… He was willing to step out alone in faith to be closer to Jesus. He was willing to leave the limited protection of the boat to step out further into the storm, since that is where the Lord was standing. And, what is more, he stepped out alone, leaving the rest of the apostles in the boat.
I’m also reminded to seek God in prayer. Just as Peter asked Jesus to call him before he stepped out, so I am reminded to ask for God’s guidance before I step out. Walking by faith is not walking aimlessly, hoping God will catch up, but rather waiting for His voice and following His lead.
Prayer: Father, please remind me to call to you when the storms of life rage around me. Remind me that I can step out in faith to where you lead me. Give me a heart that longs to be close to you, even if I must step out alone. And help me to remember to keep my eyes on you rather than the storm around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.