Walking on Water

St. Peter has become an important role model for me. You can see his journey of faith through the Gospels and Acts: from a sinner fisherman to the bold leader of the apostles.

My favorite passage is the one where Peter tries to walk to Jesus on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). So many focus on the fact that Peter had to cry out for Jesus when he began to sink.  “You of little faith,” Jesus said,” why did you doubt?” I’m not one to argue with God, but I like to look at the boldness of Peter. He asked Jesus to command him to walk on the water, then Peter actually got out of the boat! So let’s just stop a minute and think about this. The wind is blowing strongly, the water is thrashing about and the boat is rocking enough to make seasoned fishermen fear for their lives. Would YOU step out on the water?

Peter not only stepped out of the boat, but he started to walk to Jesus. Walking on water! How fantastic and frightening that must have been. But Peter starts to sink. Why? Did he realize what he was doing? Did his focus shift from walking to Jesus to realizing that this was a miracle? Did he recognize his sinfulness in the midst of what Jesus was allowing him to do?  Did he focus on the storm instead of on Jesus?There can be a lot of suppositions about this, but the most important thing was that he called out for help, not to the others in the boat where there were probably ropes and oars that could help in a material sense. He called out to Jesus – not just for help but to be saved.

I’ve walked on water twice, but it was frozen–once on the frozen Arctic Ocean and once on a glacier during a helicopter excursion. The experience is very surreal in a world of white ice and snow. But the water was firm and solid, nothing that would make me think there would be any movement. If I were in the same situation as Peter, I think my reaction might be to cling to whatever piece of wood that I could, craving that stability of earth. But Jesus does not want us to cling to what we know, he calls us to walk to Him, to walk on the water to Him. Our daily lives might not require walking on actual water, but sometimes it can be a metaphor for the challenges in our lives. How many times do we step out of the boat in faith? How many times do we have the courage to walk on the water toward Jesus? How many times do we call out for Him to save us? Andt how many times do we doubt that He can? Jesus, I believe in You; help my unbelief!

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