“Sit down! You’re Rocking The Boat,” – Guys and Dolls.
Matthew 14:22-32 – Jesus walks on water — and Peter abandons the ship.
It was a dark and stormy night. No, wait! It REALLY was a dark and stormy night as the disciples huddled together in a tiny boat on the Sea of Galilee. Waves crashed up and over the boat’s hull, pushing it further away from the shore. It’s easy to imagine the abject terror and misery felt by those on the boat, although they were seasoned seafarers. If I were a passenger on that boat, I would find some comfort and reassurance as I watched the crew adjust the sails and man the rudder. Their seafaring experience would keep everyone on the boat safe. Yes, as long as they were there in the boat with us, we’d somehow make it through the crisis.
The crew’s terror-ridden shouts would cause me to risk peering over the side of the boat. Just what was that in the distance? What were they pointing at? A figure? A ghost? An albatross? I wouldn’t be able to distinguish between a cloud in the sky and a wave on the sea.
Soon enough, I could make out what they were seeing – a wind-whipped figure moving on the water toward the boat. One look was enough! Yes, I’d huddle in the bottom of the boat, even if I recognised the voice of my Master, encouraging me not to be afraid.
I can’t even imagine the rush of emotions that would wash over me as I heard Peter scramble over the edge of the boat. “Wait, Peter! You idiot! What are you doing? Don’t you know we need you? You are the only one who knows what you are doing. What about the rest of us? Why are you abandoning us? What will we do without you?” Perhaps the remaining seafaring folk’s disgusted snorts at my lack of confidence in their skills would silence me. But I would be certain. If one more fisher left, the ship was going down!
In times of uncertainty, it’s tempting to look to man instead of God. When we are under incredible stress, it’s even more tempting to control those around us. If we can’t control our storms, we try to control those around us. All for one and one for all. If they began the journey with us, they better stick with us until we all reach the shore.
Peter exercised faith by stepping out of the boat in the storm. The other disciples, who were particularly fond of the impulsive Peter, were given a faith exercise of their own. They had to trust Peter to the care of Jesus. Andrew most of all. Peter was his brother!
During chaos and uncertainty, God urges us to keep our focus on Him and to still our hearts so that we can hear His instructions. Even in the midst of a storm, if Jesus beckons someone out of our boat, we need to give them the freedom to follow Him. We must resist the urge to follow those who God leads out of the boat unless the Lord beckons us forward as well.
We always focus on Jesus’ rescue of Peter in this passage, but Jesus also rescued the other disciples that day by climbing in their wind-tossed boat. His presence calmed the turbulent storm and drew them into the safest place any follower of Christ can dwell; the heart of trust.
All Bible references are from the NASB 1995 version unless indicated otherwise.
Until next week,
©2022 Katherine Walden