Do you know the story of St. Peter when he sees Jesus walking on the stormy Sea of Galilee? St. Peter boldly asks if he can walk to Him on the waves. The rest of the disciples are all sitting in the boat rather content to stay there and wait for Jesus to come to them. But St. Peter is an exuberant soul. He is courageous and willing to take a chance. He asks Jesus if he could walk toward him on the waves. And Jesus allows this with His hand outstretched toward St. Peter. If you are familiar with the story, you know that St. Peter actually takes a few steps before the fear of the waves, the storm, and the wind overtake him, and he begins to sink. He then grabs Jesus’ hand, and Jesus also grabs his. St. Peter and Jesus walk together to the boat to join the other disciples who are awe-stricken.
There is a lot to admire about St. Peter. He sees Jesus and wants to be near Him. He puts aside all rational belief about human beings walking on water. He asks and walks. His faith in Jesus holds him up, and it isn’t until he looks at what is happening around him that he falters. But he does walk. He takes a few steps. And he walks on water. When he keeps his eyes on the Lord, he is able to remain calm and buoyant. But when he looks at the whitecaps, fear sets in, and he begins to sink.
What are the whitecaps in your life saying to you? Could the waves be capped with words such as “mistake,” “misjudgment,” misunderstanding,” even “miscalculation?” Could they be telling you that your goal or your new plan for betterment isn’t possible and that you might as well give up or not even try to make a change? How would you like to walk on those waves?
The Bible says over and over again not to fear. But how can we not when life can seem so scary at times and that any false move—such such as stepping outside of the boat—could place us in harm’s way? This boat can represent many things: a hurtful relationship, an unfulfilling job and anxious thoughts. How can we keep our eyes on Jesus in order to remain buoyant?
Do we trust that He will keep us from drowning even if we might have misjudged, misunderstood, miscalculated or made a mistake? Can we trust that through prayer and confidence in His love for us that He will take us to the other side? Just how far or how long might St. Peter have walked with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee? Jesus might have walked with him all the way to the other side if that’s what St. Peter was willing to try. But Jesus doesn’t force anything. And maybe St. Peter had stretched his faith enough by walking even a few steps on the water when everyone else thought it impossible.
How can we live out this story in our own lives? Is there something you are feeling led to do, change, or even give up? What keeps you from stepping out of the boat despite the angry waves and accusations you might hear from your own mind and possibly even from those around you who say, “Mistake!” “Misjudgment!” “Misunderstanding!” “Miscalculation!”
I’d like to suggest the following: First, really listen to what your heart is telling you. What are you hearing when you are quiet and prayerful? What messages come to you over and over again from outside sources? Next, look into the possibilities. Do some research. Learn more. See what might be possible. Furthermore, find supportive others who will be there for you in tumultuous times. No doubt, if St. Peter was truly being swallowed up by the waves, his friends would have cast him a net and dragged him back into the boat. And last, take courage. Take the step out of the boat. Follow what keeps calling to you in your heart to do. Trust that the Lord knows. He sees. And He will provide a way for you to remain buoyant.