What to Do with That Sinking Feeling
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” –Matthew 14:28-31
There’s nothing quite like a familiar and confident voice in a dark place saying, “I’m here. There’s no reason to be scared.” It doesn’t matter if you are 4 or 44. It doesn’t matter how many times you been in a dark and unpredictable situation. Hearing that voice is the difference between sinking and safety.
Matthew 14:22–33 describes a night crossing when the disciples got caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had sent them ahead in the boat alone. Interestingly, about half of the disciples were fishermen. They knew how dangerous the lake could be. It’s hard to figure out who was more afraid, those who knew what could happen or those who were wondering what would happen. Either way, there was a boatload of nervous guys out on the water in the dark.
Then, as the wind and the waves threatened to take them under, Jesus walked by—on the water! Without a flashlight on board, all they could see was a dim figure making His way through the swells toward the boat. They immediately forgot about the storm in their terror over the ghost! The disciples“cried out in fear.But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (vv.26–27).
Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (v.28).I love this about Peter. He concluded, If Jesus says I can walk on water, I can walk on water. As usual, Peter’s mouth and actions were about ten seconds ahead of his brain. But Jesus said,“Come,” and over the side went Peter. Imagine his wonder when the water held him up—like a kid playing on a waterbed. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (vv.29–30).
Aw Peter! You were doing so good—what happened?Here’s what happened—he took his eyes off the Lord. He forgot the reason why he could walk among the waves.
Does that ever happen to you? When your eyes were on the Lord, life was good no matter what was going on around you. But the moment you got focused on the wind and waves, you started to sink.
How’s that going with you today?
If you’re going under, I can guarantee it’s because you’ve been looking at the waves (like the pitch and roll of your retirement funds). You’ve been listening to the howling wind (like the constant voices of doom and gloom in our society). You have been taking your cues from what others are saying or the way they are acting instead keeping your mind stayed on Christ (Isaiah 26:3). We can do better! When things look bad we don’t have to conclude that they will remain bad; instead we can be looking for Christ to show up!
And when we do get distracted and start to sink, it’s time to call out like Peter, “Lord, save me!” He will always rescue us.
- In what storms, winds, and waves in your life do you need to start looking for Christ to show up?
- What’s usually your first clue that you’ve taken your eyes off Christ?
Lord, it bothers me that every storm feels like the first time I’ve been out on the water. Why can’t I do better at remembering all the other times You have been faithful? Why do I so easily forget Your constant demonstrations of care? Forgive the way I’m prone to wander. Forgive my effortless distractions. Thank You for being equally patient with me as You are faithful to me. Continue to guide me toward greater faithfulness on my part. I know I’m doing better than I did even a year ago. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.