But seeing the wind… I am convinced that stepping out of the boat, responding with “yes” to the call of God, is the easy part. Walking on the water is the place where our faith is tested. We see this truth in several places in our lives. Saying yes to getting married and being engaged is the easy part; staying married is the test. Being excited at a pregnancy is the easy part; parenting well is the test. I can think of a few other examples but I think you get the point, embarking on something new when you KNOW for certain you hear God’s voice is easy; staying in faith as His call unfolds and the storm is raging around you is the test.
Peter is a great example of this truth. In Matthew 14, we see Peter say yes to the call of God and then falter. Peter sees his best friend and leader, Jesus, walking on water and he is instantly drawn into the miracle of defying science. No one can walk on water! And yet, here is Jesus out strolling on the waves. And in case walking on water isn’t amazing enough, there’s a storm raging. Peter and his companions are terrified and believe Jesus to be a ghost, but Jesus speaks and assures them He is no ghost. Then Peter does what Peter does best, something crazy. He sees Jesus working in a new way and he is eager to join in so he says “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” I love Peter! He just wants to do what Jesus is doing, be where Jesus is working and all he asks is for a call. So of course, Jesus says come and Peter hops out of the boat and starts walking toward his Lord.
Saying yes to a call and taking the first couple steps out of your comfort zone requires an initial level of faith. To believe something is possible when you are just starting out has a level of excitement and amazement that is temporary and yet, so necessary because it is what propels you forward. Can you image what Peter was thinking when he first stepped out? I’m sure his thoughts were all jumbled and his adrenaline was likely off the charts. He was stepping out into this new and exciting miracle, eyes fully focused on Jesus. Everything and anything was possible at that point. But seeing the wind…
The Bible doesn’t say how many steps Peter took, but at some point in this new journey, he took his eyes off of Jesus and he saw the wind. He saw the storm around him and he started to lose the focus on the call and on Jesus. His brain and what he knew to be true from an earthly perspective took over and he started to get afraid. At that moment, the moment when the storm around him was raging and he felt most vulnerable, he had a choice: stay focused on Jesus or, focus on the storm. Peter chose the storm, got scared, and started to sink. Jesus isn’t going to let him drown so He immediately scoops him up so that he is safe. Then Jesus asks him a very simple yet very powerful question that I never want to hear Jesus ask me, “Why did you doubt?” My heart sinks at just reading those words! Nothing externally changed, Peter’s faith changed.
Here’s the deal, faith is hard and staying in faith is in even harder. There was nothing easy about Peter’s decision to step out of the boat, that required faith. He could see God working, Jesus walking on water, and his heart wanted to be like Jesus so he asked if he could join and Jesus said yes. He felt sure of his call to walk on the water, his faith was strong. And then the storm got his attention and he faltered and he sank. So many of us step into our calling but we don’t hang on to our calling because we get scared and we lose faith. When that happens, there is no condemnation from Jesus, only a simple question, “why did you doubt?” If I had been Peter, I would have responded with something like “well, the storm got too big!” I would have forgotten I was already out in the storm with Jesus AND walking on water. The storm didn’t come up when Peter stepped out, the storm was already around them. Peter’s perspective on the storm changed because he went from relying on the safety of the boat to relying on the safety of Jesus. That’s when faith grows!
Faith grows the most when you have no one else to rely on but Jesus. And I believe fully, that is a call for every single follower of Jesus. I am convinced Jesus wants all of His believers to trust only in Him because in that level of trust, we find all that we need to step out and keep walking. It’s scary. It’s stormy. Friends and family may think you are nuts. The world may tell you there is no one on earth what you are doing is going to work. And above all of that storm, Jesus is saying “come”.
What is God calling you to do? If you are certain it is God, step out and keep walking. What has God already called you to do and you sank? Peter didn’t lose his ministry in this moment with Jesus so don’t think you have lost yours if you faltered before. God’s call on your life only goes away if you make the choice not to follow. Forget the storm and the scary stuff and go. Go answer His call and watch Him meet all of your needs. God isn’t bound by anything so believe He is able and be part of the miracle!