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. 30But 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. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." - Matthew 14:22-36
You ever feel like you’re drowning? I know I have. There have been countless times where I’ve felt like the prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me! I am ruined!” Sometimes the trials and struggles of every day life can overwhelm us to the point of depression. I remember reading the scripture above one night during a particularly tough time in my life. I got to the part where Peter begins to sink and he cries out, “Lord, save me!”, and I realized that I was Peter. And I was drowning.
Difficult times in life can cause us to fear the worst in things. “Oh this will never happen” or “I’ll never do this” become the slogans ingrained in us. Fears lead to doubts and doubts lead to depression. The cycle starts all over again the next time a storm comes around in our life. Sometimes we just want some assurance that everything will be alright.
Notice in the text how Peter asks Jesus for that assurance. The disciples are terrified when they see their master walking on the water. Jesus tells them not to fear, and then Peter asks for confirmation that it’s really Him out there on the water. Jesus responds by giving Peter his word that it is truly Him on those waves. We open our bibles and read over God’s word to let it strengthen and reassure us. And for a while we, like Peter, have the courage to step out on the waves.
So Peter steps out of the boat onto the waves. He’s overcome the initial fear of seeing Jesus walking on water by the reassurance Jesus gave him with his word. So Peter presses on toward Jesus, but then he sees the wind. How he ‘saw’ the wind, I don’t know. Maybe the wind picked up right then and he saw and felt its effects. Maybe Jesus purposely enhanced the wind to test Peter; I don’t know. But Peter began to sink nonetheless. He was overcome by something he couldn’t see.
Usually what we can’t see is what we call the “unknown”. We tend to fear what we don’t know more than what we do. When we know things, we make plans and take action; when we don’t know, we are paralyzed. Peter lost his faith when he felt the effects of the unknown and he began to sink. But there was Jesus, ready to save him. There was Jesus, keeping Peter from drowning.
So don’t be afraid of the storms in life, such things will come. Let God’s word be the spark of reassurance to move you forward onto the waves. Don’t fear the unknown, because even if you do, Jesus will always be there to keep you from drowning. Be willing to cross land and sea to get to Jesus knowing he will be there to pull you up when you start to sink.