Getting Out of the Boat
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!" Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand.
I was reminded of the amazing journey of Peter this week. Remember, he was out in a boat with his companions and there was a storm raging (vs. 24). They were in obedience in being on the water since Jesus Himself had told them to get into the boat and sail to the other side. Even in the midst of following Christ, there was opposition and “bad weather”. In the middle of the storm, Jesus shows up walking on the water and they thought it was a ghost. Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, bid me to come to you on the water.” My first thought is “what in the world was he thinking”, but then I begin to ponder the incredible journey (no matter how short) that must have been and the amazing lessons I have drawn even this week from the testimony of these brief moments in Peter’s life.
Think about it. It wasn’t like the seas were calm and the water was smooth. Since there was a storm, it is safe to assume there were waves and wind. Can you imagine the faith that it took to climb over the side of the boat while all of his friends stayed safely on board? Imagine the sheer adrenaline when he took those first few steps ~ on the water. Imagine the intimacy only he had at that moment with the Creator of the Universe. His eyes fixed on his Savior and his faith to get out of the boat combined with the only One who had the power to carry him across the surface of the water, orchestrated for him one amazing journey. These moments have to rank up in the highest of all “mountaintop” experiences. I mean, I’ve never walked on the water with Jesus, have you? Oh, the indescribable joy that had to be his as he walked on the surface of the water toward Jesus.
We don't know how long he was on the water, but at some point his incredible "high" with Jesus began to fade and he found himself sinking. He was obviously distracted by a rather large wave or gush of wind and he immediately started to go under. His gaze that was once fixed on the Savor was now scanning the raging waters around him and suffocating his heart with fear. In those scary moments, Peter didn’t scream for help from his comrades in the boat or even begin to swim in that direction. He didn’t head for the boat, He cried out to the Master.
Have you ever been there? Really enjoying some of the most fruitful and intimate moments in your walk with Jesus, walking "on the water" so to speak, connected with Him in such a sweet and personal way, only to have a large unexpected storm or wave in life catch your full attention and fill your heart with fear, anxiety, and worry. Your mind that was moments earlier filled with the joy and intimacy that comes from walking closely with the Lord is now struggling to catch a breath from the tight hold anxiety has on you. Suddenly, it is as if you cannot see the face of the One who is in control because of the fog of fear that is rising quickly around you. As you feel the raging sea begin to pull you under, just like Peter, you do the only thing you can do. You cry for help, believing that the One who you know is there somewhere will come to your rescue. And, praise the Lord, He does!
Amazingly, He gently reaches for your hand, lifts you to the surface, and steadies you on the water. But, He doesn’t stop there, because His desire is not to simply rescue you from the raging water that He, in His sovereignty knows will eventually subside. He gently guides your chin to realign your focus into His eyes. They are not filled with anger or frustration, but love and understanding. You are shaken, but you begin to feel your strength resume and although the storm isn’t completely passed by, you are reassured and immediately find peace again. Your sweet intimacy is not only renewed with the Savior, but could it be that it is even sweeter than before you lost your grip, as you have seen firsthand once again His gentle compassion and love for you?
To those in the "boat" it was an adventure that played out before them, but from Peter’s perspective it was monumental! I would imagine the ones still standing on deck watched with a tinge of regret and wished they had gotten out of the boat, but for Peter it was a journey overflowing with lessons that strengthened his faith, gave him an incredible taste of the grace, power, and sweet fellowship with Christ that only comes from following His call no matter the risks.
I want to be a woman that gets out of the boat when He beckons me. When the storm is raging, and it will, and my view of His sweet face gets distorted from the waves around me, and it will, I don’t want to head back to the boat. I want to cry for help and trust the One who is able to save me, calm my anxious heart, and even settle the storm around me when He chooses to do so. I want to stay on the journey and learn all that He desires to teach me and grow in my intimacy with Him every step of the way.
Lord, thank you for the times in our journey with you that you call us to get out of the boat. Thank you for the strength to obey and the joy that comes as a result. I am so grateful that the many times I have lost my focus on you that you have refreshed my strength and gently realigned my gaze to your face.
In Him ~
You can read more from Tammy by visiting her at Steps in Our Journey.