New International Version (NIV)
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
I just heard a young veteran, a born again Christian, speak of his time in Afghanistan. He was injured badly there, losing both legs as he did his job . . . securing a building without knowing he was standing on a bomb.
He said that he didn’t feel the pain and thus didn’t have fear of losing his legs. He said that he felt the Holy Spirit within him and felt assured he would go on and life would be good. Maybe different but good and perhaps better than before. Then he heard his buddies around him speaking of how bad he was and how they’d never seen such a dreadful injury. His fear came then.
In the quote from Matthew’s gospel, we hear of Peter walking on water and his ultimate sinking into it as he looked to the wind . . . now, having heard this young man speak, the question becomes what made Peter lose his faith and begin to sink? What made him look to the wind and not to his Lord? Was it perhaps the sounds of his friends in the boat who were worried about him and perhaps calling out in fear “here, Peter, grab this rope and we’ll help you back into the boat!”
Peter’s situation, storm or no storm, was unchanged. He WAS able to walk on water toward his Lord and yet in that same situation and set of circumstances Peter also quickly began to sink. We know the ending . . . Jesus was there and had a plan.
Jesus still does. When Peter saw the storm and heard the cries, he surely saw an impossible situation. It was NOT impossible though. We know why. How often do we Christians who know Jesus still use words which rather than reflect our faith, instead cause us or someone near to sink? The storm was still there yet the outcome was entirely different . . . Jesus words versus human words of fear.
I often wonder if my mess is because I missed something Jesus told me. Did He let Peter sink for listening to cries of human fear and the sounds of the wind? No, Jesus saved Peter. He spoke to the fear and the weak faith gently to teach and not to comdemn! You? Me? We are no different than Peter. We speak in faith but we also speak in fear. Jesus has His hand out to us.