My phone was buzzing off the nightstand at 3 am. I was jolted awake from a perfectly wonderful dream to heed a perfectly frightening tornado warning.
I had hoped that a perk of moving away from the Midwest would be a relief from the constant threat of storms. Yet storms–physical and emotional– always seem to find me.
This is why I love the story of Jesus walking on water. It’s the one I call to memory most often because it reminds me that Jesus will meet me wherever I am, even in the wind and waves of a storm.
The disciples are out in a boat, battling the choppy waves along with their exhaustion. And then they see Jesus walk out to them. On the water. You would think that miraculous act would be enough to squash any amount of doubt.
But it’s the creepiest part of the night – just before dawn – when it’s not dark and it’s not light. So of course they were terrified. We would be too. Until we heard His voice, of course. That would be enough proof for us, right?
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
~Matthew 14:27 (MSG)
Yet Peter wants more proof. He wants to do it himself.
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
~Matthew 14:28 (MSG)
That is so…human.
And then he’s out there with Jesus. With the God of the entire universe physically standing right in front of him. Yet he still gets distracted. By the waves, by the dark, by fear. By doubt.
That is so…human. Of course, he starts to sink.
It’s easy at this point to shake my head at Peter. I quickly grab the lesson about needing to have more faith, and I usually move on.
But there’s more. Notice what Peter did when he started to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Interesting first response.
I started thinking about what my first response is when I find myself sinking. Honestly, it’s usually a panicked attempt to save myself. I reach for Google before I reach for my Bible. I run to friends, family, and anyone who will listen on Facebook, looking for answers and help. Then only when I’ve exhausted all efforts, do I finally fall to my knees saying, “Lord, save me!”
Peter doesn’t do this. He doesn’t frantically start swimming. He doesn’t look to his friends who are still safely in the boat. His first response is to cry out to Jesus. His savior. His lifeline. And of course, Jesus saves him. Even though Peter is clearly full of doubt and clearly has so much to learn, Jesus reaches out through the storm and saves him.
We are so…human. We are going to lose faith. We are going to have doubt. But when we do, let’s surrender control. Let’s look to the God of the entire universe who stands right in front of us, gets behind us, walks beside us, and lives inside us. Let our first response be to cry out, “Lord, save me!” Let our second response be to listen. Let our third response be to follow.
And as the wind dies down from the latest storm, having been saved once again, let us worship Him as the disciples did, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”