Jesus on the Water
My father-in-law is going through Matthew in his sermons right now. I can’t remember how long we’ve been going through Matthew, and who knows when we’ll reach the end, but it’s been a good time thus far. We’ve reached chapter 14 and this past week we learned about Jesus walking on the water and calling Peter to him. On its own, this is a really cool story, but put in the context of our life right now, it’s also surprisingly relevant, and it occurred to me, about half way through the week, that this is not the first time I’ve been given this message. It’s happened before.
So lets look at the story itself, just real quick, for those who aren’t super familiar. To sum up, Jesus is getting away from the crowds who want to make Him king after He gave them all the free food. He sends the disciples out ahead of Him in the boat while He goes up to the mountain to pray. While He is praying a storm comes up and the disciples struggle against late into the night. When Jesus comes to them He comes walking on the water and they think He’s a ghost, but He tells them not to be afraid and so Peter responds by asking Him, if He is their Lord, to call command him to come. Jesus does so and Peter climbs out of the boat and walks on the water towards Jesus. But when he sees the waves and the wind, he looks away and begins to sink. As he sinks he cries out to Jesus to save him and is pulled up once more by the hand of his Lord.
That’s the gist of it, anyway. A little over a year go we heard this story taught at a near by PCA church that some friends of ours attend. I had forgotten about it, until earlier this week when I stopped to think about the timing of it all. In both that sermon and the one we heard on Sunday, one of the big points was that while Jesus was praying, most likely for his disciples, a storm came up. The disciples were obeying what Jesus had told them to do, they were out in the boat where he sent them, and yet they were struggling against a storm. Both pastors pointed out that storms aren’t always a punishment for sin. Sometimes you just have to go through a storm, and you don’t know why, but God does, and you have to trust Him. February was a storm for us, is still a storm for us, but we are trusting God.
The second thing, which I don’t remember if the PCA pastor touched on, but my father-in-law did, was that Peter looks away and sinks, but Jesus doesn’t and He saves. This bit struck me the most this past week. We can be so focused on Peter and his doubt that we forget that Jesus is right there, ready to catch Him. He was watching the whole time, He wasn’t going to let Peter drown. Paired with that, is Peters faith and doubt. He doubted it was Jesus, and he asked for a sign, but he had the faith to step out of the boat and walk to him. He looked way, distracted by the fear of the wind and waves, but he knew he to cry out to for salvation. These examples have been super good for me recently, to know that even when I find myself in doubt, even when I waver, I know who to turn to for answers. I know who holds my salvation. And even when I look away, even when I fail, Jesus hasn’t taken His eyes off me.
That’s what I learned on Sunday and here’s why it’s so incredibly timely. Last January we were grieving the loss of a beloved aunt and a two-year-old cousin. Both losses were extremely hard on my family, but in the aftermath of that storm, God placed this message in my lap. Sometimes storms come, but Jesus is always there. He hasn’t taken his eyes off of me. My husband mentioned the sermon being particularly meaningful to him as we left that morning. He told me he felt like it was what he had needed to hear. This past February has been another storm that rocked his side of the family just as hard. We lost essentially two grandparents in one month and another baby cousin on top of that. But, true to form, God gave us the message that we needed. He put us in Matthew 14, right were we needed to be to see where we were and where He is right now.
God’s timing is perfect and amazing and even when we don’t understand why, He gives us what we need to trust Him and His grace. Sure, we’re still hurting, and I’m sure there are more storms to come, but I am comforted to know that God doesn’t look away, even when I falter. He’s got me, and He’s never letting go. I hope this gives you some comfort too, my friends.