August 20, 2008

He Saw the Wind and Sank

Matthew 14:22-32

He was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:30


The story of Peter's attempt to walk on water is one of my favorites. Along with all the other disciples, Peter first fears the figure looming in the night, walking on the waves toward their boat. When Jesus reassures them that he is the one walking out there, Peter wants a piece of the action too. “Lord, tell me to come to you on the water,” he says. “Come,” invites Jesus. Like a child taking his first tottering steps toward his parents, Peter walks toward Jesus on the water. But when he takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the wind and waves, Peter begins to sink. So Jesus reaches out and catches him. Then Jesus asks Peter, “Why did you doubt?” I like this story so much because I know the same feeling of taking my eyes off Jesus and “seeing the wind” instead. I get distracted from faith so easily by my frustrations and insecurities and temptations. I can relate to Peter, and I thank God that this story has been preserved in Scripture. I also love how it turns out. Jesus challenges Peter's lack of faith, but then he helps him into the boat. Peter gets a second chance, and he will also need more. I thank God for the many second chances he has given me. My weakness is covered by his strength.

Jesus, my eyes get distracted by the wind and waves instead of seeing you. Please, Lord, help me stay focused on you alone. I need your strength always. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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