December 9, 2018
We’re in Matthew 14, specifically verses 30 and 31:
The wind is whipping up harder and harder.
The water in the Sea of Galilee is raging and billowing.
A boat carrying twelve men tosses about on the waves, clearly out of human control.
Fear is in the hearts that are in that boat.
There we have the scene.
And we Christians know it well – we’ve read and studied the Scriptures; we’ve ridden out metaphorically similar storms in the seas of our own lives.
But we know that this scene served up for us through the Holy Spirit, as it is, is far more universally meaningful.
And that’s because it involves Jesus, the apostles, in particular, Peter, and the great power of faith.
When we scroll back to verse 29, we read that after the apostles see Jesus walking on the water through the storm, Peter jumps out of the boat and starts walking on the water toward our Lord.
That, displayed on Peter’s part, is clearly, undeniably great faith:
Peter and his boys were in great trouble, but they knew, in their ways, that they were on a mission with the Son of God and everything was going to ultimately turn out well.
Peter, in his characteristic impulsiveness, took his faith in Jesus to a higher level.
Walking on that water as far as he would himself, Peter went to the realm of saying: Hey, if Jesus is here with me, I’m going to be better than okay – no matter what.
Okay, so eventually Peter’s faith falters somewhere before he reaches our Lord.
He becomes doubtful when he now considers those rough waves and he begins to sink.
But he cries out for Jesus’ help. And the Savior helps him.
All of this, for me lately, always takes me back to a bitter cold day and a snowy street in the Windy City some 44 years ago.
It was so cold, I couldn’t get my battery to turn my car’s engine over. And by this time, I’d had my fill of icy and frigid places.
I stood, shaking my head, looking down at my frozen fingers.
Out of nowhere, it seemed, came this bundled up, little old lady, who came over and asked: “What’s wrong son?”
“It’s cold enough out here to make a grown man cry,” I responded.
Then the woman, who, all the while, seemed to be praying specifically for me, said, soothingly, “Don’t worry son, everything is going to be alright.”
Sometime shortly after that old lady disappeared down that snow-filled street, I found myself out here in almost year-round sunshine.
I got into a most rewarding 36-year career out here.
And most importantly, I came to Christ and got baptized out here.
Now every time I consider the lessons from Peter’s experience, I can’t help but think about that old fleshly angel in the cold, who had faith enough to talk to God for me, a complete stranger.
And who, most of all, had a strong enough belief in Jesus to assure this stranger that the Lord would get him through his life’s storms.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).