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." Matthew 14:25-29
Sometimes when I am reading a passage in the Bible an idea will come to me. A thought about that particular verse or chapter that never occurred to me before. Okay, maybe that happens quite frequently. Still, as many times at it does, it always surprises me, each and every time. Today while I was reading in Matthew, something struck me about these verses. This is the exchange with the disciples where Jesus is walking on water, and for a brief moment, Peter does too. That's so exciting to just think of-isn't it? The mere idea of walking on water? It just doesn't happen. Yet I imagine that walking on water has to be one of the most comfortable things... imagine having every footstep cushioned by waves of water!
But notice something here in these verses. Peter spoke first. He was the one who reached out to Jesus first and said "ask me to come to you!" Jesus did not initiate the contact, he didn't say "Hey Peter, you can do this too if you just believe." Instead Peter saw Jesus, and wanted what he was doing. He wanted to experience what Jesus was experiencing and called out to Him.
It is exactly the same way with us. God is there at all times, within shouting distance. And he wants, more than anything, to have a relationship with us, to have us place our faith in Him, but we need to make the first move, and the first call. We need to pick up the phone and dial heaven and say "okay, God, I want what you've got." And just like Jesus said to Peter in the boat, God will say to us, "Come." And He will give us all that we desire and so much more. But before we can experience God and all he has for us, we gotta want it first. We have to find that desire, that spark that tells us we want so much more. Then all we have to do is tell God that we're ready for Him. We're ready for him to bring it on, and before we know it, we, too, can experience our own forms of walking on water.
"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?" Matthew 14: 30,31
I think these verses deserve a look too. It's interesting to me that Peter became afraid. Why? Why did he doubt what he was doing and become afraid? I could see looking at myself walking on water and being in a state of disbelief, but fear? It's only water, after all. But maybe for Peter, the water was one of his "trouble areas". Maybe he didn't swim so good, or maybe growing up he saw someone swept out to sea to be drowned. We don't know, but we do know that we all have our own form of Peter's Water. We all have a talent or a gift that we just aren't sure about using don't we? I can imagine that if I were blessed with a real gift for something like healing I would be afraid. I would be afraid of what that meant for me. And maybe that's what Peter was thinking of. He loved his Jesus and his God, and he was taking a great leap of faith and getting out of that boat to follow Jesus to whatever end. But at that moment, that reality filtered in and maybe he wondered what that would really mean for Peter. What would that mean for his daily life? His family and friends?
When you draw closer to God, sometimes things change, and that's what can be scary. It can be scary to think that every step that draws you closer to God draws you away from something else. We get so comfortable with our lives and our daily routines that to think about changing that up is magnificent and scary. What if the people we consider our friends now don't understand the new us and stop spending time with us? That is a possibility, but there is one thing that we can cling to, and that is Jesus. We can look ahead and focus on Him and make the choice to not doubt. We can follow our faith wherever it takes us. And that could certainly be exciting!