"And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus." Matthew 14:28-29
I was thinking about this verse yesterday as we were driving home from dance classes. It just popped into my head, out of the blue, and generally when that happens, I've learned to pay attention.
Every time I spend time reading about Peter walking on water, or thinking about Peter walking on water, it seems like I get something new or different out of the words in my Bible. What I was thinking yesterday was not about the miracle of actually walking on water. Instead, I was thinking about what it took for Peter to actually take that step out of the boat.
Because there wasn't some magical transference of Peter from the boat to the water. He had to physically lift his foot over the side and step out of the boat onto the water. It was a physical response to his desire to be with Jesus. Think about that, because that's what I've been thinking about for the last several hours.
In the different translations that I've read these verses in, not one of them mentions that Peter had to take some time to think about this first. So I believe that he didn't. One of our faults as people, sometimes, is that we over-think things. We put too much thought into how things work, or why things work, and too often that can wreck the beauty of a magical moment. I believe in this case, Peter did not even give it a second thought. He saw Jesus walking on water, asked for confirmation that it was Jesus, and then joined Him in walking on the water. He didn't hesitate, He didn't sit there and think about the ramifications of getting wet, or the scientific properties of water that could even make this walking possible. He just did it. With just one step.
I think that many, many Christians desire a closer relationship with Jesus, but we spend so much time thinking about the hows and whys, that we miss the many opportunities that come our way. Peter grabbed hold of the most excellent opportunity in front of him, and didn't think twice about it. What do we do when we're in such a moment? I'll be honest, there are times, where I will be in a situation where God is doing some really cool things for people, and I think about how there are things in my life I'd like to see changed, but then I don't DO anything about it. I just sit there and thank God for blessing those around me. Opportunity missed. An opportunity that needed a physical response from me- whether that be going to my knees, lifting hands in adoration, or getting out of my seat and walking to the altar.
But it's often that first step that is so hard and difficult. Why is that? Because we over think. We see Jesus across the room, and we think how wonderful it is to merely be in His presence, that we don't NEED to get any closer, that perhaps those people over there have more important needs than ourselves. And by the time we've maybe worked up the idea that we should go over there, it's too late. The moment has passed.
Sometimes, maybe that physical step that we need to take is something much smaller- or something on a more "at home" scale. Maybe that physical step we need to take to get closer to Jesus is simply to pick up our Bible and read it. Maybe that physical step is that during a time of sorrow or sadness, we lift our hands towards heaven and praise God- even in the midst of troubled times. Maybe that physical step is something towards another person- a gift of groceries, or simply a kind word and a smile.
With just one step, Peter did something that we are still talking about thousands of years later. Now, while I doubt anyone will be writing books here on earth about the things I may or may not do, there is a book being written about me in heavenly places. And someday, when Jesus and I sit down together and look through that book, we'll see the story about the time I took that step, and there will be great rejoicing because of it. With just one step, Peter showed the world that there is no such thing as impossible. What are you going to show with your step?