30 Jan

An Exercise in Sinking

Peter sees an opportunity and jumps at the chance (Matthew 14:28). “Tell me to come to you on the water.”

Tell me. If it is your will, my Jesus, tell me to come to you.

Peter has a reputation for being impetuous and hurling headlong into situations. But here, we see Peter reach out to Jesus, God walking on the water. In perfect submission, “Oh Lord, I want to do this but tell me if is okay first.”

Oh, and what does Jesus say?

Come.”  Come to me. Join me in the extraordinary. In the impossible. In the things that only I can do.

Discipleship builds faith. Stretches your faith muscle.

Peter had no hope of walking on water on his own. Did he? It was only through Christ’s power. It was only through Peter’s faith in the One that he loved that he had any hope of succeeding. Any hope of walking on water, any hope of the extraordinary lay in Christ’s power alone.

Christ says come, not only so that Peter could experience God’s power through this water walking, but that he would also know his own weakness, his own dependence on God.

Peter got down out of the boat. Sounds simple enough. But, oh how its not. The side of that boat was likely 3 to 4 feet tall (that’s like standing on your dining room table at home). The waves are tossing the boat around. The water rises and falls. Can you imagine what it took to get out of that boat?? To step over the edge and lower himself down to step onto the water. Faith, friends.

 

Faith. Peter believed that Jesus’ power was enough for him – that it would hold him, keep him safe, allow him to do the impossible.

Peter gets out of the boat and what happens next??

He walks on water.

He WALKS ON WATER.

My version has four words. Four measely words for the impossible, amazing walking on water.

And Peter didn’t head off for shore or walk circles around the disciples still sitting in the boat. No. Where did he go? Peter walked toward Jesus.

Storm raging all around Him. Faith focused on Jesus. Peter walks toward Jesus.

And, oh, if that was the end of the story. That Peter did the impossible with God by submitting his plans to him and stepping out in faith. Oh, what a grand story that would be, huh?

But that’s not where it ends.

vs. 30-31: But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

When Peter saw the wind and he was afraid.

Why? Because he took His eyes (and his mind) off Jesus.

It is the same wind and waves, Jesus walked on as He called, “it is I, don’t be afraid.”

It is the same wind and waves Peter stepped out onto and into when he got out of the boat…and yet. He was afraid.

We do this don’t we? We take our eyes off God and begin to look at the world around us – war, famine, unemployment, divorce, illness, the brokenness of people. We begin to look around us and we begin to fear. The goodness of God. The mercy of God. The grace of God is pushed out by “what ifs” “oh nos” and “how comes”.

And we begin to sink. As Peter did.

As Peter began to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Peter cried out! Friends, that’s prayer. Peter opened his mouth and cried out to the One whose power could hold him up.

Do you cry out as you begin to sink? Save me. Or do you take a few more steps…will it to happen…try to do the impossible under your own steam and your own power. And then when you are up to your neck cry out, “save me”.

The awesomeness of Jesus is it doesn’t matter when we cry out does it? One step, five steps, after weeks of trying to do it on your own? Jesus will answer us the same way He answered Peter.

Immediately.

Immediately Jesus the spoke to the frightened disciples in the boat. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand to save Peter.

Immediately.

Jesus could have let Peter flounder. Let him learn from his own mistakes. But he didn’t. His love and compassion are ever present, ever ready. All we have to do is seek Him, call to Him.

I have felt like I am sinking lately. Drowning in the weight of the tasks God sets in front of me, weighed down by the heartache of recent hurts and overwhelming heartbreak over the state of so much in our world. And as I sit here this morning on this overcast, gray morning my heart hangs heavy. And my own words echo back to me (the ones above) from part of a talk I was privileged to deliver last fall.

When you are sinking? Do you cry out to Jesus? When?

I’ve been try to walk on water, I suppose, but really it is more an exercise in sinking. I can’t do this water walking without Jesus…it is His impossible, amazing that He invites me into. And when I watch the waves (the seemingly insurmountable in my life) and listen to the wind (the voices of critics, insecurities and other people’s faith issues) I sink. We can only do this life in Christ if we are striving to live in Him. Eyes on him…heart focused on him…walking toward him…. Anything else is just an exercise is sinking.

How about you? Are you struggling with something this week? Look to Jesus, focus to hear Him above all else! He will reach out…save you…touch you…love you. You have to choose it first!

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