As I sat reading a bedtime story to my children tonight, about Jesus walking on the sea, it suddenly occurred to me that earlier today I had fallen into the same doubt as that of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33.
“Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people away [after feeding five thousand]. After sending the people away, he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
“Between three and six o’clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost!’ they said, and screamed with fear.
“Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Courage!’ he said. ‘It is I. Don’t be afraid!’
“Then Peter spoke up. ‘Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water with you.’
“‘Come!’ answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he cried.
“At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, ‘What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?’
“They both got into the boat, and the wind died down. Then the disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus. ‘Truly you are the Son of God!’ they exclaimed.”
Many times I have read this story over the years and each time judged Peter for not trusting in Christ, but now here I am a hypocrite! I have failed to trust in Christ, too. I can recall numerous times when I have reached out, cried, and said, “Please help me. Save me, Lord!” All the while Christ was standing right there looking at me as if I had gone mad, probably thinking to himself, “What little faith you have!”
I stand before people and claim to have given all to Christ, but have I really? When a little incident is able to shake me to the core, is that really having complete faith in the Lord and in my Father? How am I supposed to set a good example for others when I stumble so easily?
Psalms 46:10 (NKJV) tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God…” How often does that seem easier said than done, yet that is what we are called to do? Has there been doubt in your mind this week, perhaps when faced by tribulation? Do you generally stand firm in Christ or lose your footing in the face of what seems to be defeat and/or disappointment? Are you in the word everyday? That is where we need to be when we are shaken so Jesus does not look to us and say, “Why did you doubt?”
1 Timothy 6:12 says, “Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses.”
Will you be able to say as the apostle Paul did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV.)?