by Andy Cokayne 9 November 2021
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified "Its a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come." he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
A short while a go I shared some thoughts on walking, from John Ortberg's book 'If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat'. In his book John reminds us that the bible is among many things a list of unforgettable walks. Probably one of the most memorable walks was when Peter got out of the boat and started to walk on the water to Jesus. Imagine Peter's thoughts when he is invited by Jesus to step out of the boat and on to the water. The storm was so severe that it had put fear into experienced professional fishermen, who knew the lake. The waves were enormous, and the wind powerful. It was about 3 o'clock in the morning, when they were all weary and tired, and terrified. It would have been an awesome challenge to set foot out of the boat when it was midday, with the sea calm, the air still, and lovely bright sunshine on your back. Yet Jesus calls Peter to set foot out of the boat at the worst possible time.
Put yourself in Peter's place, Jesus is calling you to the adventure of your life. On the other hand you are terrified. The boat is safe, secure, and comfortable. Jesus is about to pass you by. What would you choose water or boat? There's a storm out there. If you step out you might sink. But if you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat.
There is something inside us that tells us there is more to life than sitting in a boat safe and secure. That we were made for more than simply avoiding failure.
So what is your boat?
Your boat is simply whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself. Your boat is what you put your trust in, especially when life gets tough. Your boat is whatever stops you from following Jesus more fully.
If you want to know what your boat is, your fear will tell you. What is it that most produces fear in me - especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith?
But remember that whatever our boat Jesus is always alongside, and will never leave us alone to sink. Just like he did with Peter, when Peter started to sink, he will reach out and lift us up. What is God calling us to step out in faith with? What is our security boat? We were made for water walking.
Oceans - Where feet may fail
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Heavenly Father help me to know that I can trust you. Give me the confidence to step out of my boat knowing that you will never let me sink.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen