When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it…When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified…
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.
Matthew 14: 23b-32a New International Version
I decided to take my own advice and take a risk. I put together a resume and applied to be a Spanish language interpreter for a local language bank. I was accepted, completed a brief orientation and then received a first assignment. I passed my probation period and now face new and difficult jobs.
These first steps required initial courage, but now I am faced with new challenges and I am not calm. Like Peter, I stepped out of the boat, walked on water a bit, and came toward Jesus as He called me. Then I looked down (and around) and felt my courage evaporate!
The Bible account of Peter’s water walking says that Jesus reached out his hand “immediately”. He does not hesitate when we cry out for his help. All over the Bible, God reminds us of this instantaneous assistance. “I will help you.” “I will be with you!” are his signature words.
Have you ever noticed in this gospel story that the wind died down only after Peter and Jesus climbed into the boat? It was still stormy as they stood hand in hand out on the water.
When I put myself in Peter’s place, standing– not sinking – in the midst of buffeting waves, the wind whips our hair into our faces and we laugh in the face of the storm. I grip Jesus’ his hand more tightly and feel an electric surge of joy.
This cycle of courage, fear, rescue, and joy plays itself out in a loop. These are my ups and downs when I seek to trust Jesus as I walk on the stormy sea. I am so thankful that Jesus does not despise us for our fears.
Step out of the boat.
Keep taking those risky steps on the water.