Many of us have heard or read this story of Peter walking on water. I recently was reading this passage during one of my devotional times and wanted to share a few things that stuck out to me and really challenged me. I hope they do the same for you.
The disciples have been out in a storm for potentially ten hours, going roughly only three and a half miles. I would imagine they are not only discouraged, but feeling pretty beaten up. Having been in a few actual storms myself, it becomes hard to see with a piercing rain in your face, your body tenses with every flash of lightning and I can only imagine that ten hours of this would be exhausting.
The disciples are in survival mode, doing whatever they can to conquer this storm and come out of it alive. There are no lifeboats and no coast guard to bail them out if things get worse. They will need to rely on their instincts and experience to get out of this storm.
And that’s when Jesus comes on the scene- and not in your normal fashion. As he walks on water, the disciples are freaked out. The toll of the storm has left them weary and exhausted. The violent winds, rain and water continue to skew their vision. They recognize the voice but are pretty hesitant- it’s not everyday you see somebody walking on top of the waves.
Most of us know what happens at this point. It is Peter who jumps out of the boat after Jesus tells him, begins walking on water, takes his eyes off the Lord and proceeds to sink. I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Peter and the disciples here. Sometimes it is really hard to see the Lord when going through a “storm” in our lives. The tendency for most folks is to try to push through it and “fix” it ourselves.
Matthew 14: 22-33 gives us a great picture of how to respond when a storm comes your way and you are having a hard time seeing the Lord in your circumstances. These three things have had a profound impact on me when I have experienced challenging circumstances in my life.
Know that God is in control. Understand that God is ultimately in control of every event, even the difficult ones; it was Jesus who calmed the storm. This is much easier said than done. Even the disciples didn’t recognize that God was in control until after the storm died down, but the following verses can be an encouragement to you when feeling like the storms in your life are out of control (1 Chronicles 29:11, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Luke 1:37, Isaiah 45: 6-7).
God has a purpose for adversity. God can use difficult times to draw us closer to Him and help us grow in our relationship with Him (James 1: 2-4, Romans 8: 28-29). The end result of this storm in Matthew is the disciples saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” My guess is that this was a pretty pivotal moment in their relationship with Jesus.
Never go through a storm alone. Although the disciples were all in the storm together, they did have each other to lean on. Having someone alongside you during a storm gives you the opportunity to hear from others expertise, wisdom and insight. More importantly, it gives them an opportunity to pray for you and your particular storm.
Written by Kyle Hasbrouck