I was reading Matthew 14:24-33 this morning and was impressed with what an example Peter is to us in the storms of our life. In the midst of a storm at sea he saw what looked to be a spirit walking on the sea, which turned out to be the Lord. When Jesus spoke to the apostles and told them to "be not afraid" Peter's answer was to ask the Lord to let him walk upon the water and join Him.
He didn't wait for Jesus to make it back to the ship, he wanted to be with Him and experience the miracle of walking upon a sea. It makes me wonder how often we notice Jesus in our lives, especially those times when He is doing something miraculous. I think that sometimes the storms in our lives keep us so focused on keeping our ship afloat that we don't look beyond the ship's sides to see what the Lord is doing in our lives. When we do notice, do we eagerly seek Him out and want to be with Him where He is? Do we want to leave the safety of the ship to walk on water with Him?
As Peter stepped out and walked on the water he became distracted by the storm and let his attention be focused on what he feared rather than on the Savior. He forgot, in that instant, that Jesus was the one who had brought him out onto the water and kept him above it. I thought of how often we face our own storms in life and how we tend to focus on the fear and the situation and lose sight of the Lord in our lives. We let go of Him and start to sink, just as Peter did.
Peter's next response is so hopeful, though. As he starts to sink he cries out to the Lord "save me." He automatically recognizes that Jesus is the only one who can save him, the source of the power to be above the water in the first place. In the midst of our severe trials, do we automatically turn to the Lord to "save us?" Do we cry out to Him as we start to sink, or do we wait until we're deep under water? Do we give in to the fear or do we trust in His power to help us overcome? In what do we place our trust when the storms of life come upon us?
Jesus' response is so heart-lifting and beautiful. He immediately stretched forth His hand and caught Peter. There was no hesitation, no waiting. He immediately took hold of Peter. I can imagine the relief and the comfort that Peter must have felt as Jesus got him back into the ship.
I know from my own experiences that when the storms in my life have threatened to drown me in sorrow or fear, when I have reached out for the Lord He has always been there. He has caught me and held me and brought me into the safe haven of His "ship." And those rare times when I've been brave enough to join Him as He "walks on water" He has helped me face my fears head on and walk through the storm to calmer waters.
The story of Jesus walking on water ends as Peter and Jesus came aboard the ship and the wind ceased, the storm abated. I know that many times in our lives the storm continues to rage even when we've reached the safety of the Lord's ship. But if we trust Jesus at the helm we can be assured that He will steer us through the storm and keep us afloat until we reach the soothing rhythm of a peaceful sea and the hope of sunnier days.