“And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind and waves, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got in the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:29-33.
One day after Jesus had been preaching, He wished to be alone for a while. As the crowds went home, Jesus sent the disciples ahead on a boat to the other side of the sea of Galilee, and He went up into the mountains to pray.
The sea of Galilee isn’t really a sea, it is more of a lake, and it is located in northern Israel, in the region of Galilee. The sea was famous for being the focal point of the Galilean fishing industry, and the majority of men in Galilee–including many of the disciples–were fishermen. But there is something else that the sea of Galilee was famous for–storms.
Storms on the sea of Galilee were furious, and they could appear out of nowhere. The reason for these storms is largely due to the sea’s location and surrounding area. It is completely surrounded by mountains, and these mountains keep the warm, moist air from escaping the area of the lake. However, the air on the other side of the mountains is cold from the elevation and dry from the desert climate. When these two different air masses meet, the resulting storms can be extraordinary. To make matters worse, the sea itself is relatively shallow, and this means that storms can stir the sea up very easily. All the disciples in the boat knew the sea’s proclivity for storms, and they were trying to reach the other side as quickly as they could.
As night began to fall, the twelve disciples were still in the boat, and the were miles from either shore. A fierce storm came up and they were greatly afraid because their boat was being battered by the waves. Around three o’clock in the morning, they spotted something in the water, but it was something they had never seen before, and it was something they could not understand– they saw a man walking on the water. Their first instinct was to think it was a ghost, and this frightened them even more, but the man called out, “Do not be afraid, it is I.” The disciples then realized the man was Jesus, and they were greatly relieved.
Wanting to make sure it really was Jesus, Peter calls out to Him, “If it is You, Lord, let me walk to You on the water,” and Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water to Jesus; that experience must have been incredibly exciting. But, Peter’s focus shifted away from Christ; fairly quickly he was distracted and overwhelmed by the storm raging around him. As soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink down into the water, and he cried out to Jesus to save him. Instantly Jesus was there and caught Peter. As Christ was pulling Peter out of the water, He asked him this question, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Then Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the storm ceased, and the disciples celebrated and worshiped Jesus.
Our lives are filled with storms and conflicts. Quite often, we are unsure how to cope with whatever problems we are facing and we feel completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the storm all around us. Just like Peter, we challenge Jesus to perform a miracle to prove to us that He is really in control. We may even have enough faith to get out of the boat–to get out of our comfort zone and everything we know– when Christ commands us to come to Him. But just like Peter, we are too focused on the storm around us to appreciate the miracles Christ is performing all around us, and we let ourselves sink into doubt and fear and be swallowed up by our problems. Though we are constantly lacking in faith, Jesus will always be there to pull us out of the raging sea, and He will get us safely to the other shore.
We must learn to trust in Him and let our faith grow from these experiences. Do not be overwhelmed by whatever trials, problems, or obstacles you are facing right now. These storms are only temporary. Christ is there in the thick of the storm with you, calling you to come to Him. Have enough faith to get out of the boat and walk to Him. Do not let your doubts hold you back. Rest assured that, even if you falter and begin to sink, He will rescue you. Put your faith into action and get out of the boat.