In the Wild and the Waves

Peter is one of my favorite people mentioned in the New Testament. 
 
If you’re not familiar with Peter, he’s the guy that Jesus refers to as “the Rock” in which the Church would be built on (Matthew 16:18 MSG). Coincidently, he’s also the guy who denies knowing Jesus three different times during Jesus’ trial and execution. 
 
Peter’s story is one of redemption with his humanity on full display. And it is because of his humanity, that it’s so easy for me to see myself in him. 
 
In Matthew 14, Peter is watching Jesus walk on water after witnessing Him feed five thousand people with just a handful of fish and bread. Peter boldly asks Jesus if he can leave the boat and join Him out on the water (v. 22). Once out on the water, Peter begins to lose his nerve and allows fear to creep back into his heart, and he begins to sink. It is his fear and doubt that causes him to sink, not Jesus being absent or inconsistent. 
 
Peter begins to sink because he did not fully acknowledge and trust in the power and authority that was Jesus standing right before him.
 
I read those couple of lines and see so much of myself. I see myself standing in the storm of fear and instead of remembering all the ways God has so faithfully and lovingly guided me through those same troubled waters before, I lose my nerve and begin to sink. 
 
Like Peter, I begin to sink because I fail to acknowledge and trust in the God who has met me time and time again on the raging sea. 
 
But the thing is, Jesus doesn’t condemn or shame Peter for losing his nerve. In fact, “[He] doesn’t Hesitate” to save Peter. Jesus reaches own into the sea and grabs Peter by the hand and says, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (v. 31 MSG). 
 
Jesus, the Messiah reaches down and helps Peter out of the mess he’s gotten himself into. Jesus says, I’ve got you now and I had you then. I was never going to let you drown. I will always save you but you’re never going to be able to move on from this if you keep taking your eyes off me to see the storm raging around you. 
 
Jesus isn’t upset or embarrassed by us being faint of heart. He just wants us to remember who He is and who we are in Him.
 
I absolutely love that. But what I love more is the sentence that follows that moment: “The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down” (v. 32 MSG). 
 
Jesus got back into the boat with Peter. He doesn’t stay lording above him, surrounded by the raging sea, but rather, He stays with Peter. He goes knee deep into the fear or shame or whatever it was Peter was feeling in that moment and the storm dies down. It goes away. 
 
I think Jesus is ready and willing to get into all our boats and calm the storms raging around us. But what I think even more is that Jesus wants us to step outside our boats into the free and wondrous life He has for us, even with the winds blowing and the waves battering around us. He wants us to trust Him and ask for the things that feel impossible and scary, because He knows He can match it. Jesus knows that He’ll always be there to offer us more. 
 
“Courage,” Jesus says, “don’t be afraid.” Don’t be afraid to ask Him for more. Don’t be afraid to fail or for things to look differently from what you expected them to be. Why? Because He will always be there to reach down and save us, even when we lose our nerve. 
 
Author | Ansley Davenport

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