Peter asks to come out of the water! Peter asks. I was always under the impression that Jesus calls him out to the water, and then Peter responds. (See what comes of reading the Word for yourself! See what comes when we slow down and meditate on the Word with the intention of feasting on it!)
“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?’ When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.” (Matthew 14: 26-32, NASB)
Oh, how I have felt like Peter in these past few months! I have cast out my own fleece to the Lord, saying “Lord, if You want me to be a missionary…Lord, if You want me to be in disaster relief…Lord, if You want me to be full-time in Your service…Lord, if You want me, if You have chosen me…” – all questions that I imagine most missionaries have dealt with at some point. And I realize, like Peter, I asked to step into my missionary ministry, as a fleece to know that He is with me, that He walks alongside me. And so He said, “Come!”…and so I did, and I got out of my metaphorical boat, gained my footing, and proceeded to walk in that ministry.
“But, seeing the wind…” Wait. It’s not the chaos of the water or the battering of the waves that makes Peter lose his footing? It’s not his ability to walk where the natural deems an impossibility? No. It’s the wind. Could the wind represent what we hear the world whisper in our ear of what is logical, or what is possible, or what is healthy, or what is reasonable – the doubts that it casts our way when we choose the path to be set apart as Peter desired.
“But, seeing the wind…” (NASB, NIV, ESV) – and varying translations add to this image:
- “But, when he saw the strength of the wind…” – Berean bible study
- “But, when he saw the wind boisterous…” – KJV
- “And, when he saw the wind was violent…” – Aramaic Bible in plain English
Peter’s eyes focused on Jesus when he first got out of the boat because he “came toward Jesus”. What happened? Peter’s gaze changed; his nautical bearings shifted so to speak. He now focused on the force of the wind, wind that he thought would certainly knock him off balance…and so it did. If Peter had only kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, surely he would not have been knocked down and battered by the waves himself.
Like Peter, I have lost my bearings at times throughout the process of transitioning to full-time ministry. At times, my gaze is so fixed on Jesus, feeling secure even in the midst of chaos; at times, my gaze is distracted or dulled (lukewarm), and down I go. Thankfully, Jesus’ loving hand is so quick to reach out, and His loving discipline reminds me of why I went down. I hear Him saying, “Anchor your eyes on me, Katherine. All things are possible with Me. I will lead you to incredible places and experiences you dare not dream of yet.”
- Again, and again, and each day until You come back Lord, I re-anchor myself in Your presence and declare that winds and waves cannot shake Your kingdom, Lord – that nothing robs me of the love, joy, and peace of God in my heart. If I’m feeling unstable in my place, thank You Lord for helping me to surf and navigate the place where You have me.