Walking on Water

Maybe it’s because I just recently re-read the 14th chapter of Matthew. I’m not sure what it was. But this morning when Shawna showed the picture of Peter falling in the water as he walked towards Christ and I heard the usual “he lost his faith” comments from class members, something in me snapped. I just had to stand up for Peter because, after all, he’s the only one of the disciples who actually had the faith to get out of the ship. The rest were afraid, thinking that they’d seen a spirit walking towards them in the midst of a storm. I can well understand their trepidation. Still, give Peter a break unless you’re one of the ones who’s willing to step out and take a chance.

 

Let’s revisit the story briefly. Picture this. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea and were afraid until he called out, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” After Christ invites him to come towards Him, Peter gets out of the ship and begins walking towards Him…on water. All is well until Peter, noticing the boisterous sea, becomes afraid and begins to sink. We all know how the story ends; Christ extends his hand, catches Peter, and says, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

 

Ever since I was a child, I’ve heard teachers and commentators discuss Peter’s lack of faith. After all, Christ was right in front of him. How could he doubt? Lately I’ve been thinking more about how Peter actually got out of the boat when all of the others preferred the relative safely of the ship. Yes, there was a storm and boisterous winds, but at least the ship was familiar. But to walk on water? That was unheard of. How could they even consider such a thing? But Peter did. He stepped right out of the boat and started walking.

 

It takes courage and faith to get out of the ship and start walking. It’s easier to stay in a comfort zone and never take a chance. One of my brothers has been teasing me about my website lately. I’ll admit that it does take a lot of what my mother would call “unmitigated gall” to put your ideas and work out there for the WWW to see. But then, what should a person do if she (or he) has a product to sell, an idea to share, or a service to offer? Should a person hide his talent like the man in the New Testament?

 

I’m thinking of some people I know who’ve lately been getting their toes wet by stepping out of the ship. There’s Bryan who’s off for Florida to pursue a degree in film, Christy who’s developing an adorable clothing line for little girls, Mark who’s begun his own online pottery business, Martha who submitted her book in a contest, and Kametria who walked out of a successful business career to study nursing.

 

If we lose our faith and/or fall, there are those who are there to help. Although Christ himself might not appear and remind us to be of good cheer, there are other ways in which He will communicate this message to us. During this morning’s great lesson, Connie mentioned that whenever she felt down, overwhelmed, or anxious, invariably someone would just happen to call, drop by, or send a card. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think Connie is one of the ones who’s heeding the call to step out of the ship and walk towards her destiny.

 

Until the rest of you of you are ready to join us, please don’t tear down our dreams, make deriding comments, or criticize our lack of faith. At least we’re leaving the safety of the ship to test the waters. We wish you’d join us. The sea’s a big place, and that “comfortable” boat can get a littlecramped.  

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

13 thoughts on “Walking on Water”

  1. Awesome post, Jayne!!! I have been thinking alot about individuality. At what age do we start feeling the need to conform with everyone else. We are certainly not born this way.

    P.S. I hadn’t thought of “stepping out of the boat” but I guess we do! I love “The sea’s a big place, and that “comfortable” boat can get a little cramped” That needs to go in the quote collection.

  2. i must be in trouble faith wise, because peter was told by the savior of his little faith and he was out there on the water, expectations of the savior must be very high, they were high for peter, that really kind of discourages me

  3. Thanks Connie. As I was typing the comment about the sea being a big place, I thought of Stephen Covey’s concept of “abundance mentality.” Some people operate with a “scarcity mentality” as if they think what other people have (talents, success, money, etc.) takes away from them when it doesn’t. There’s plenty for everyone!

  4. Barlow, I agree that the Savior had high expectations for Peter just like he does for us, but I think He was trying to show that He stands ready to help us when we falter and fall. The important thing to do is to take some steps.

  5. Maybe to feed a little off of Barlow’s comment: I think the savior likely does have high expectations for us simply because he knows our potential. But that being the case, he also knows us personally meaning that Peter’s standard is not your standard, and your standard is not my standard.

    When it comes to judging us or “weighing” our faith, we will be judged within the limited ranges of our own imperfect faith and abilities, not Peter’s, not Christ’s, not anyone else’s. That is comforting.

    Christ knows you, knows what you are capable of, and will you judge you accordingly. When Peter asked to come out on the water, Christ allowed it knowing full well that it was within Peter’s faith to allow such a miracle to happen. If it were not possible, Christ would have forbid it. Christ never sets you up to fail.

    As for the post in general, I personally get very tired of hearing people belittle Peter for his lack of faith or for denying Christ three times. Same with Thomas when he doubted Christ had been resurrected and many other scriptural examples. The simple truth is that we are not them, we are not in their shoes, and we can’t begin to pass judgment. Had I just witnessed the vicious of my Lord, I would have trouble believing in the resurrection especially when that principle was unproven and debated among the Jews. It’s so much easier for us to look back and say that “I would have believed.” Or, “I could have walked on water.” I hope it’s true, but until the opportunity presents itself, we would be better off giving honor and praise to the great faith and courage they had instead of finding fault in the teaching moments and lessons they provided.

  6. Well put, Dave. I too get a little weary of people criticize Peter, Thomas, and anyone else who might have fallen a little short (in their eyes). Just yesterday a brief mention was made of the rich young man who was unable to give up everything he had to follow Christ. He gets a lot of criticism too, and yet aren’t most people just like him???? We want to be followers, but we want to keep our homes, possessions, families, jobs, and so forth too.

  7. Great post and comments.
    What can I add? Well I have heard that Peter started to sink or fall because he lost faith, But you all are right that he had more faith than the rest to step out… What is incorrect is that Peter lost faith. You read it correctlly: Peter did not loose faith, he shifted it. When he steped out of the boat he had faith in Christ and he walked on the surface of the water. Then it is implecated that he noticed he could walk on water. He thus shifted that faith from Christ to himself. From a “Jesus let me follow you out there.” to a “Hay look what I can do” attitude. Peter was sinking because he forgot that it was Christ and his faith in Christ that allowed him to remain on the surface. Jesus reminded him that it was not Peter’s faith in himself that allow this but it was His Faith in Christ, when Jesus held out his hand and Peter took it: Placing faith back in Christ, and he walked on the surface again.

    Yes, Be Brave, Do Well and always have Faith in Christ. What we do we do not do alone.

    Peace be with you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    -D
    P.S. I am glad i was not Peter: If I were Peter I’d have steped out of that Boat and when I did not sink, I would have marveled at it for a few short secounds and then sank, then probablly drowned, with the last thought, I was doing it, why can I not just rise up again? It would have been a fatle Duh moment for me.

  8. Isn’t that what you posted to one of my blogs?
    Yup, verbatum…

    It is strange to see the same comment crop up in other places.
    I think the “Lost in translation” part fit better on my Blog but this is a nice place to visit.
    -D

  9. I should have specified: Canterbury has made an identical comment that I found on my Blog. I just thought it weird that he/she would be lost in translation here too. It is more understandable on my Blog where I generally let the thread develop beyond the main topic but here, it seems rather well focused and has a logical progression, so that I would think it would be easy to follow.

    Good Day 🙂
    -D

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