Walk Or Swim

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

James 1:5-8

We are not so different from the disciples who walked the earth thousands of years ago. Humans are humans and having faith can be challenging no matter when you walk this earth.

In Matthew 14, Peter and the other disciples witnessed Jesus feed five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish.

We know Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” but during this time the disciples saw with their own eyes and tasted with their own mouths the power and sovereignty of Jesus Christ.

What an incredible time to live in!

As Jesus dismissed the crowd, he made the disciples go on out ahead of him, and he went up on a mountainside to pray.

 

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying,

Truly you are the Son of God.

 

In Peter’s life as well as our own, there seems to be sort of a dance between life-changing, science-defying faith, and a sinking doubt leaving us blown and tossed by the wind and waves.

 

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 photograph by Pixabay

 

I know when I am struggling, I think that if I could just see Jesus or see a miracle, then my belief and faith would increase so much that all my fears would vanish.

The disciples witnessed miracles daily and had an unparalleled intimacy with Jesus Christ, and yet Peter still sunk like a rock when he saw the wind as he was walking on water.

Obviously, his focus turned from the Maker of the winds to his inability to manage the power of the wind, but I think more was going on than a shift of focus.

Why would Jesus respond by saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I don’t think Jesus was making fun or condemning Peter. Jesus knew Peter well. I bet he was delighted to see his friend and fellow traveler do what other humans have never done.

I think he was asking Peter “why do you doubt” to make Peter fully understand his need for constant communion with his Savior.

Peter can’t afford to look away from his source of life.

Neither can we.

To be able to do the things Jesus was going to ask him to do, Peter had to know where his strength came from.

Jesus was very aware of his own humanness and need to constantly go off by himself to pray.

Jesus wants Peter to know that because we are human, we are weak.

We will have the tendency to doubt even though our eyes and mouths experience miracles. Our faith, belief, and boldness come from the daily filling of God’s grace through prayer.

We are not meant to travel beside Jesus and passively watch His miracles.

If we are to live in a way that brings God glory with a faith that walks on waves instead of being tossed by them, we have to believe and receive who Jesus Christ is. This comes from an intimacy found in a daily, moment-to-moment union with Christ.

As God reveals Himself to us in this intimate relationship, may our words be of true belief;

“Truly you are the Son of God.”

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