I can walk on water

February 16, 2011

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

The version of this story in John 6 is a shorter version than that found in Matthew.  Here is the extended version where I am brought into the story.  (OK it’s Peter again, but I really relate to him here.)  We pick it up when Jesus tells the guys in the boat to stop acting like a bunch of babies.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”   29Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”   31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.

Why did I doubt!  What, are you crazy?  Didn’t you see that wind?  See the wind? We can’t see the wind, only its effects.  But the same wind was blowing when Jesus walked up, and it didn’t bother him.

And that’s where I think I need to stop.  If it bothers Jesus it should bother me, and if it doesn’t bother him then…

Every decision in life can really come down to that, can’t it?  I know some of us are a bit tired of WWJD, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not always the correct course of action.  The wind and the water did not deter Jesus.  The doubts and the fear didn’t either.  Jesus simply did the right thing.

When confronted with doing the right thing the choice is easy.  The decision sometimes isn’t.  Getting out of the boat may be the scariest thing you’ve ever done.  Getting your feet wet may also entail getting your head wet, learning to breathe under water, swimming with the fishes.  But if God tells you to get out, it’s still safer than staying in the boat.  Today I am in the most uncomfortable place I have ever been.  There are days I feel like I am under water and running out of breath.  There are times when I feel like I was pushed out of the boat, and from a human perspective I was.  But I am safer where I am then if I were still in the boat.

This reminds me of another boat story from the Bible.  No, not Noah’s boat story (which is also our boat story.)  No, not Jonah’s boat story (which could also be our story.)  I’m thinking of the boat story in Acts 27.  The ship is going down but everyone will be safe.  The seas are tossing me, but likes Paul’s companions holding on to boards and barrels and anything that will float, I am hanging on to God’s Word and his promises and his call.

Audio Adrenaline had a song back in the 90’s that said, “If I keep my eyes on Jesus I can walk on water.”    (from the 1996 album Bloom)

OK,  I think there is more to say about how we respond to things that anger or hurt Jesus, but I need to think about for a while.  Right now I just have to focus on putting one foot in front of the other while keeping my eyes on Jesus.


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