Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stepping Out of the Boat

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33

There are times when we need the safety of the familiar boat, and other times when we are called to step out. Last week, when we were in Virginia, at the Indian View Baptist Church, the preacher wondered whether it wasn't Peter's lack of faith in Jesus that made him sink, but lack of faith in himself. I have been thinking on that all week. We often get in our own way, and in the way of receiving God's love and goodness. We rely on ourselves and realize we can't do it. We sink and yet God is still there to stretch out a hand. Can we step out of the boat in the midsts of the storms that are raging these days? I have never feared falling out of a boat because I am a good swimmer, but if called to walk off the boat, I  don't know how I would respond.

The disciples, all skilled water men and fishermen were overwhelmed by a storm. The wind and the waves were against them. It was a perfect storm and they feared for their lives. They saw Jesus coming and it frightened them even more. It took messy, hard headed Peter to be willing to put fear aside and reach out to Jesus. He sunk when he saw his own limitations, suspecting he had to do it all on his own. But Jesus was right there the whole time, as he is now, and we are invited to step out of the boat during these stormy times and reach out.

Today, I ask God to help me be faithful in Jesus and in the strength and ability given me. May we all use what we have for the good of others, knowing God is in the midst of our very worst storms.



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