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.