Don’t look down!
I was encouraging a friend with faith the other day by saying, “I know we are out here walking on the water, but don’t look down; look straight ahead to Jesus – in faith – it will be fine.” Afterwards, I thought about what I said and I imagined Peter walking on the water. I knew that when he had immeasurable faith, he was able to walk on the water and defy the laws of science, but when fear came, he looked down, the laws of science regained power, and he began to sink. I was excited to get home that day and read the story again. I was sure I would find a physical event that occurred that caused Peter to look down during his intense moment of sure-fire-faith.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him saying, “Truly you are the son of God.”
I notice a couple of things. The disciples wanted Jesus to prove that it was Him as they feared it might be a ghost. They asked him to prove Himself even after He said, “It is I.”I don’t want to judge them; I’ve asked God countless times to confirm Himself, His truth, His presence, and His will in a situation in which I am fearful and battling confusion. I think Jesus almost expects His children to do that, although I’m confident that He wants us all to graduate to a point where when He says, “It is I. Don’t be afraid,” we accept it on the spot, not wavering in our faith.
I also notice that there were a few disciples in the boat, but only one who had enough faith to ask Jesus to help him walk on the water towards Him. Jesus, in turn, honored Peter’s request because He knew Peter believed. Jesus loves it when we believe. No-matter what it is, if we believe Him for it, and it is His will – it will be done! Just as Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness so too can ours be – if we believe.
Thirdly, however, when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink! I knew there would be a physical force that interfered with Peter’s rhythm of faith! I knew it. Think of our own lives. We are just going along fine, believing, having faith, breaking through impossible walls of this world, and just at that pivotal moment when we are about reach new spiritual levels of discernment, increased faith, and power through Jesus Christ, the winds of this world come - in the form of people, circumstances, and thoughts, and BOOM! We lose it! It’s gone, and we sink! When this happens, we and the people all around us wonder where God went. It wasn’t God who left, but our faith that disappeared.
God also reminded me that it was Peter who would later deny Him three times. Immediately I was reminded of the intensity of the battles that we encounter in the present and the future one’s that await us. I can’t help but wonder, had Peter maintained His Faith in Jesus on water, would he have denied Him when the winds of death and evil approached?
More importantly, in thinking of our own journeys: If we could get – but a glimpse – of the battles and victories that await us, would we be more motivated to ignore the winds, stand firm under fire, focusing on Jesus – rather than the waves – press through, walk on water and receive the intense blessings that await us as we come closer and closer to Jesus?
My last point is that I noticed that when they got back in the boat the winds died down. I knew an 80-year-old preacher with crystal clear blue eyes. If you looked at just his eyes, it was if you were looking into the eyes of a young 25-year-old. He had this youthful energy that was never-ending in Christ, despite his 80 years. He used to say, “If the devil ain’t after ya, don’t be bragging about it.” Basically, he was saying that when you do the work of the Lord, and or even, simply live by faith, the enemy will come and try to deter you with winds of fear and doubt. If you stay in the boat or just get right back in the boat when you become fearful, then the winds will go away – because the winds only came to get you to either not try or to get you right back in the boat anyway!
Once you quit, the winds can go bother someone else. Now, if we happen to step out and begin to walk, become fearful and begin to sink and cry out to Jesus to save us, He will. He will reach out His hand and pull us up. But wouldn’t it just tickle God if we did not turn to look at physical winds that surround us, but rather remained steadfast, focused on Him as we put one foot in front of the other atop the water?! Oh that we would have the sure-fire faith that enables us to get out of the boat, walk on the water and through winds and become the Warrior Leaders that Jesus means for us to be!
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.