We had some heavy storms go through our area on Friday. I'll admit it was frightening. I was driving through it with my two children in the car. The winds reached over 90mph during this storm. Trees were falling, business signs were sailing across the road in front of us. Pieces of trees were slamming into the side of my car and at one point I was concerned that my car would blow over.
We really need some rain around here. That storm was like all the prayers for rain hit at once!
After everything was over and I had time to reflect on the events, a scene came to my mind. A storm, a boat, a man, and a little faith.
"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 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 courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:22-31 NASB)
This has to be one of my favorites. Most people look at it this and call it the story of Jesus walking on the water, or the story of Peter doubting. What if we spin that around? What if we say it is the story where Peter tried, or where Peter had faith.
Wait, Peter had faith in this story?? Uh, yes, actually he did. It's so easy for us to sit back and judge, isn't it? We want to stand proud and beat our fists on our chest and declare 'I'd NEVER doubt like Peter'! Yet when money is tight and we don't know how we will ever make it, we doubt. When politicians lie and leaders abandon, we doubt. Even after God proves himself time and time again.....we doubt. We are human and it is our nature to doubt. Lets be honest, everyone is a hypocrite, to some degree. The story is not there for us to sit back and wag our heads at Peter. There are many lessons in this story.
Faith is a simple concept, and we practice it every day. We have faith in gravity. If we didn't, we would constantly be afraid of flying off into space. We have faith in the chair we sit in or the floor we walk on. Faith is believing in what you cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1).
So, back to the story. The boys are in the boat and they see Jesus coming towards them, walking on the water. They think he's a ghost, which I can't say I'd feel much different. Then he let's them know it's ok and that it is Him.
So, then every one starts jumping up and down and asking for a turn to walk on water. Ha! No! Peter, asks For Christ to prove who he is by commanding him to come onto the water. Christ simply says, "come".
Peter dared to step out and take a risk. A big risk. A risk that would strengthen His faith.
Who are we? Are we sitting in the boat watching? Do we show up on Sunday and watch everything happen all week? Or are we taking action and stepping out? Are we willing to try even if it means we fail?
We like our comfort zones. Who doesn't? But sometimes it has to hurt if we want to grow. Sometimes we have to have growing pains.
Well, Peter gets freaked out by the wind and waves and starts to sink. There are 'winds' and 'waves' in our lives that cause us to sink too. Yet, what Peter does here is interesting. Does he just start swimming, or try to save himself? Nope. He calls out to Christ. Then IMMEDIATELY Christ reaches down to help him. He doesn't wait 'til he's near drowning. Peter called out for help, and help is what he got. I think all too often we try to solve our own problems, don't you? Perhaps we need to call on Him for help more often than we do.
Christ says to Peter, "You of little faith. Why did you doubt"? You of LITTLE faith. Not you of NO faith. Peter becomes a key figure and leader in the new testament church. He continues to mess up along the way but God did great things through him.
Sometimes all we need is a little faith because if we have a little, it will grow. A little faith can turn into a big faith if you nurture it. Oak trees grow from acorns, don't they?
Faith is a simple concept, but that doesn't mean it's easy to act out. We need to challenge ourselves and those around us to be like Peter was in the boat. We need to step out of the boat and take the risk. We need to serve others and be workers. Faith needs to be put into action. There will be wind. There will be waves. Yet, if we have just a little faith we can do much.