22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV)
There has been many instances when I have thought about the meaning of this message. I do not wish to get into a theological debate, for I know from many experiences that someone, somewhere will gladly correct my, “error.” I had a very strong revelation of the meaning of this as I experienced a great amount of grief within the middle of my day, followed by a brief inner-peace, and an evening filled with even deeper sorrow. Take what you will from my story.
First, I would like to say that my weeks since the death of my dad has been full of emotional distress and physical fatigue. It would be a complete lie if I were to tell you that I have experienced nothing but joy throughout this period in time. To add to this difficulty, I’ve had to let go of a toxic relationship, simultaneously, with my mother. It has been a step in the right direction for not only myself, but for her as well. We cannot live the way God has intended by continuing in the sinful ways we mutually share when engaging in such a severed relationship. I don’t expect anyone to fully grasp this personal predicament of mine, but I do hope the reader will understand my brokenness because of the two misfortunes.
With that being said, the old scars are still present today from a lifetime of dysfunction between my parents and I. These scars are becoming ever so slowly torn open again and exposed to the hard truths of the sins that we, all three of us, have been so guilty of. The old wounds that I had believed were once stitched together by His corrective hand, now weep.
I don’t know why this is happening, but today I had a strong revelation while being reminded by His voice of the walk upon the water that Peter reluctantly had taken. I was also reminded of that fear Peter had experienced when doing such an unimaginable and impossible feat, while gazing in disbelief at our Lord, knowing that neither he nor Jesus could stay buoyant upon the water. I thought about the disbelief Peter had experienced within his fear, held together by the focus upon the Lord, then quickly broken, distracted and manipulated by the wind. The response that Jesus had as Peter began to sink within his fears (“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?“) had a tremendous grip on my reality this afternoon. My personal faith had been distracted by the old winds of fears and torments.
I really put a lot of thought into this “wind” that Jesus had provided. Being the second part of the triune, the One who knew firsthand just what the wind would do to Peter. Knowing when the wind would blow, and why it would. Providing Peter with the test of faith. It is not hidden from us when reading Scripture, New or Old Testament, that the faith of men and women was tested in some of the most trying times in order for them to see the true power of God. A power that could never be found within one’s self. The power only God is capable of achieving.
Was Jesus not testing the faith of Peter?
A test of his faith within his fear and disbelief. Within his natural tendency to seek and rely upon his own wisdom, reason and logic. First thinking, as we all would, that stepping upon a surface that would not hold him up would be foolish to trust, and then realizing that the Lord was right there with him, already walking towards him. Peter, stepping out in complete faith, buckling as the winds changed his focus, then returning to the focus upon his Lord. Trusting. Obeying. Abiding. Worthy was His voice of reason. Worthy, and made evident when those in the boat had said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
I’ve been sinking lately. As a matter of fact, after this revelation today, and even after the magnificent, comforting peace of knowing that the Lord walks beside me in the season of distress, the attack returned. The wind blew even harder. The storm did not cease. It multiplied, and a great squall raged within my mind. It physically exhausted me and sent me spiraling, downwardly, into an evening of anxiety. Sadness. Stillness filled me, yet I was so incredibly restless. The attack began soon after His Spirit had spoken, and the relentless attack continued throughout the night.
The devil is always at the heels when we step out upon the waters. He is waiting to pull us down. Lurking when we are vulnerable. Preying upon our fears. It is something that I am currently within the throes of. He wants me to drown within the waters of my sins. The fear and torment. The worry. He wants me to never reach for the hand of God as I faithfully trust in His call to cross the dark waters. Is God allowing this great storm for a greater good? I will continue, even in my misery, to have faith that He is allowing this for reasons unbeknown.
Damn this flesh. Damn this sinful life. How often we fail to trust the One who fully sustains.