But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!””
Matthew 14:27 AMP
The disciples had spent all day with Jesus and coordinated the feeding of the 5000. After it ended, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and go before him while he sent away the crowd and went to pray. While on the journey, they encounter a storm. The interesting thing here is the storm followed the command of Jesus. They were also in His presence so it is not a question of being far from God.
We might say, even in our servitude and obedience, why send us out at all to meet a battering, life-altering storm? Why can’t it be smooth sailing? The thing is, You never know how strong you are until there is a need to use your strength. Jesus didn’t cause the storm but He knew there would be a storm. God is omniscient. If He allows it, there is a lesson to learn. Storms stretch us. Builds our endurance.
“Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.”
James 1:3-4 AMP
Intimacy with Jesus and obedience to His command is not a guarantee of being spared adversity. The guarantee we have is He will always show up. Also, the difference between then and now is the Holy Spirit. Jesus couldn’t be physically present everywhere at the same time, but now, we have the Holy Spirit in us who is the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus to never leave nor forsake us. So when He sends us, the Holy Spirit goes with us to be our comforter.
As expected, Jesus showed up, walking on water, but the disciples didn’t recognize him at first. When He spoke, They cried out in fear because they thought it was a ghost. In difficult times, seasons where everything seems to be falling apart, it takes the eyes of faith to recognize the presence of Jesus and lean into the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Peter, on the other hand, was more daring. He thought it was another opportunity to experience spiritual adventure. What would it be like to walk to Jesus on the water? And to also confirm it wasn’t adrenaline or impulse trying to push him out of the comfort and ‘certainty’ of the boat into the unknown path of walking on water, he waited for a command. If you are the One, Bid me come. And Jesus bid him come. He followed a divine instruction and ventured out.
I can imagine Peter, taking the first steps towards Jesus, he must have thought, woah! this must be nice. I am walking on water. I am doing impossible things in this new line God has sent me, woah. This is easier than I thought.
And as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he stayed afloat. But when he took a look around, at the insurmountable challenges that faced him, the giants in the city God had promised him he would occupy, he must have thought, oh no. what was I thinking? I must have been crazy to leave the boat and come out here. Then his focus disappeared, doubt and fear began to weigh him down trying to submerge him underwater.
In the midst of this impending doom, Peter still recognized it was Jesus who called him out and cries out in a simple but powerful statement, Lord save me.
Peter had a momentary lapse in his faith yet Jesus reached out to help him out. In times we are running low on faith, when we feel discouraged and drowning in challenges, Jesus will still save us. He is a high priest who understands the weakness and failings of his disciples, his people. He knew PETER had little faith when He asked him to come to Him.
Though the boat Peter came out from was not exactly peaceful, remember it was when Jesus got back into the boat with him that the storm calmed but it held some form of security and they had something to latch on. So it took a decent amount of faith and trust for Peter to step out. His faith could push him out, but not sustain him to get to the meeting point with Jesus. Jesus knew this and met him at the very point where he had exhausted himself. The same way He meets us when we have come to the end of ourselves. His strength made perfect in our weakness.
Sometimes, affliction precedes an encounter. There would not have been need for Peter to stretch his faith if the storm hadn’t happen. There wouldn’t be an opportunity to encounter Jesus in that deeper place of intimacy away from the rest of the disciples.
For some of us still on the boat. Reluctant to step out. By your calculation, there is every chance you will drown. The storm is harsh. The wind is strong. What lies for you outside of this? Consider what represents a boat to you. A relationship? A job? Failure? What elicits the most fear in you to do? The place of your greatest fear is where you are least surrendered to God. It is what keeps us from a greater depth of discipleship. Today, Jesus bids you take a step of faith and come out. To go deeper with Him and let go of the cares that hold you back.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 AMP
To some others suffering in obedience, let your heart find rest in Christ. Your set time is coming. Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.”
Galatians 6:9 AMP
You are loved 💙