Walking or Sinking

Walk in the Word – James MacDonald

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Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31, ESV).

It was a dark and stormy night. Sounds like the cliché opening of a poorly written novel, right? But in this case, it fits. Between three and four o’clock in the morning, the disciples got caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. At least four of the twelve were experienced, career fishermen. They knew enough about the reputation of this lake to be terrified. The rest of the disciples took their cues from the experts—if a seasoned fisherman like Simon Peter felt scared, shouldn’t they be scared too?

Then, just when they thought the wind and waves would take them under, Jesus walked by on the water! The disciples “cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (Matthew 14:26–27). Basically, Jesus asked, “Why do you doubt? I’m right here.”

Peter extrapolated this to the next point. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Don’t you love Peter’s boldness? He was quick to respond with faith, reasoning that if Jesus said he could walk on water, he could.

“So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (Matthew 14:29–30). Awww, Peter! You were doing so well. What happened?

The answer comes straight from the text—Peter took his eyes off the Lord. Instead of seeing Jesus, he saw the raging storm. Does that ever happen to you? When your eyes are fixed on the Lord, life is good, regardless of what’s going on around you. But the moment you focus on the wind and waves, you start to sink.

“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ ”

Today, are you walking or sinking? If you’re going under, it’s because you’ve been looking at the waves (like the pitch and roll of your retirement funds). You’ve been listening to the howling wind (like the voices of doom and gloom rampant in our society). You have been taking your cues from what others are saying or the way they are acting instead of keeping your mind stayed on the Lord (Isaiah 26:3).

When the storms of life rage, God wants us to “have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18) and keep our eyes on Jesus, Lord of the wind and waves.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). Jesus Christ is our anchor, an attachment point for our souls. When the waves are crazy-high and the wind whips strong and cold across your face and you don’t know what’s going to happen, you have an anchor: the assurance that God is in control.

Peter cried out, “Lord, save me,” and “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him.” Even though Peter moved his eyes off the Lord and onto the storm, Jesus had it entirely under control. That kind of assurance will settle your heart.

No matter what is happening or will come your way, God is in complete control, working for your good and His glory. He has made promises that are bigger and better than your current circumstances. You may not know when those promises will happen, but you can be sure they will. Wait in faith—everything God has promised is coming, and His timing is perfect.