"But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted." Matthew 14:30 (NLT)
When I was a little girl my father decided it was time for me to learn to swim. He took me by an arm and leg and swung me high. I landed in the water with a splash, popping my small head up like a turtle, coughing and sputtering. Somehow I dog-paddled to the side.
It was the way his father taught him to swim, and the way he thought it best to teach me. Personally, I believe a pair of floaties would have been helpful.
Perhaps Peter felt the same way in Matthew 14. The waves were rocking from an impending storm, when suddenly Peter saw someone walking toward him on the water. The other men were terrified, but Peter leaned in closer.
It was Jesus!
"Don't be afraid," Jesus called out.
"If it's You, tell me to come to You," Peter replied.
"Come," Jesus said.
With a leap, Peter flew out of the boat. Within seconds reality hit. Peter couldn't walk on water, much less swim in the cascading waves. In terror he cried out, "Save me." Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, and together they made their way to safety.
Many times the focus on this story is on Peter's fear. But what about his faith? Peter wasn't certain of his own abilities. He wasn't sure how to overcome the waves. He simply jumped because Jesus bid him "come."
There are times in my own life that I have heard my Savior call, "Come!"
Trust Me in this.
Don't look at the waves; look at Me.
I'm not going to let you sink.
And I am afraid. I am aware of my limitations. I see the challenges, and experience the obstacles once I'm in the water. Yet the end result is less about my ability or whether I "walk on water" successfully, but how I respond to His call.
The difference between my earthly father (who I treasure in spite of throwing me in a lake), and my Heavenly Daddy, is that I am never left to dog-paddle alone to shore. Jesus is right there with me. To teach me. To help me through the rougher waves. To remind me of Who to trust when I feel ill-equipped.
Perhaps you feel Jesus calling you to a swim lesson. To go deeper in your relationships. In your faith. In ministry. Perhaps to discover a new level of trust as you move out of the "boat."
He's there, His arms open wide. He's your Savior, and He knows exactly what His girl can do with a swim lesson or two.
Dear Lord, I feel You calling me to deeper waters. I've held back out of fear. Help me to take my eyes off the obstacles and place my focus on You. Thank You for swim lessons that allow me to reach for Your strong arms and trust in Your plan. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Trust isn't impetuous: Peter asked Jesus to confirm that it was Him. If you feel God calling you, pray. Listen for His voice.
Trust is not a reaction, but rather a response: Peter wasn't trying to prove anything to the guys in the boat or even to himself; he simply obeyed.
Trust isn't about success: Peter was afraid. He floundered. But He also learned a powerful lesson, how to reach for Jesus in the waves. How many times did this "swim lesson" prove valuable throughout his life?
What is one swim lesson Jesus is teaching you right now?
Isaiah 41:13, "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (NIV)
Isaiah 43:2a, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." (NIV)