“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So, He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ " (Matthew 14:28-30).
How strong is your faith? How well does your faith endure the storms of life? Do you find your faith is able to stand up to these tests or does it sink and fade during the trials?
After learning about the death of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:13-14), Jesus performed a great miracle in which He had fed five thousand men (Matthew 14:15-21). Following this, Jesus sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee in a boat while He sent the multitudes away and to take time out to pray (Matthew 14:22-23). Christ then walked on the water to meet His disciples in the boat as they crossed the sea. They were astonished to see Him and thought He was a ghost. However, Jesus assured them: “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:25-27).
Now something else amazing happens. Peter, the disciple who seems to always stick his foot in his mouth, displays great faith in Christ as he says, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Would you have been willing to attempt to walk on water? Peter displays great faith and trust in Christ and His power to enable Peter to do this.
Jesus tells Peter to “come” and Peter begins to walk on the water to go to Jesus (Matthew 14:29). Peter got to do something that no one else has besides Jesus. He got to walk on water. Faith in God enables us to do great things. It is not through our power, but through God’s. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Peter was living out that verse!
However, now something dreadful happens. Peter takes his eye off Jesus and begins to look at the obstacles around him: “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ " (Matthew 14:30). By failing to keep his focus on his faith in Jesus, Peter allowed the circumstances in which he found himself to sink his faith.
Can you relate to Peter? Often, we begin a task by praying about it and trying to place our faith in God. We start off with a strong desire to let God lead us and direct our paths as we place our trust in Him. However, then the obstacles and circumstances in which we find ourselves begin to appear. Like Peter, we often find ourselves taking our eyes off God and begin focusing in on the difficulties we face instead of the One who has the power to enable us to overcome these obstacles. Instead of our faith “standing up” through the trial, we find our faith “sinking” in the face of adversity.
However, this was only a momentary set back in the life of Peter as he continued to strive to be faithful to the Lord. There would be other disappointments with his faith as he later denied the Lord (Matthew 26:69-75) and had to be rebuked by Paul for an act of hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-21). On the other hand, there was also great triumphs in his faith like when he boldly proclaimed the gospel on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40) and stood up before rulers for His faith (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29). Like Peter, I know there will be momentary times in my life where my faith may sink and waiver, but, today, I will strive to have a faith that stands up by keeping my eyes on Jesus!
“Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).