Faith over Fear
I love the story in Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water for its instructional nature on the matter of faith. In this story we see a group of scared disciples, battered on the sea and unable to escape the harsh winds and violent waves. When Jesus appears to them, walking on the water, they are not comforted by His presence. They are even more scared, because they’re not seeing Him through spiritual eyes. They think they see a ghost because they aren’t discerning the spiritual from the natural.
So it can be with us in our daily “storms.” We try with all of our might to handle the situation, and when Jesus shows up we don’t see Him for who He is because we don’t understand that He doesn’t always show up how we’d expect. The disciples cried out in terror even though it was their Master, the One who had the power to calm the raging storm, who appeared before them.
When Jesus identified Himself, Peter tested Him. “If it’s really you…” Don’t pretend you haven’t done this yourself. We all have. When God intervenes in our lives it’s often not how we expected and we question if it’s really Him. The disciples weren’t rebuked for this, though. Peter wasn’t rebuked, but invited to see for Himself. Then, he stepped out on the water in faith.
The problem with Peter’s faith was that it was shaken by his focus on the storm around Him. While he was focused on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible, but when he allowed himself to become concerned with the circumstances, his faith wavered. That’s because fear and faith cannot coexist. Which one is guiding you?
When Peter began to sink into the waters, he knew the correct response, to cry out to Jesus. There was no delay in Jesus extending His powerful hand. He didn’t let Peter sink to show him the consequences for his lack of faith. Instead He rescued Peter and embraced Him. Even His rebuke was gentle. Peter knew what he had done and he felt sorrow for taking his eyes off of Jesus. He’d known better than to do it, but we all do.
Notice the response of the rest of the disciples upon Jesus’ return to the boat with Peter. Where there was fear, there was now worship. That is the correct response. In any storm we find ourselves in, we ought to worship the One who is bigger than the storm.