“I wonder where Jesus is?”
The thought crossed my mind as I tried to hold the oar steady against the beating waves. It was unusually rough on the Sea of Galilee and we were working just to stay afloat. Then again, my mind felt a lot like the sea—in turmoil.
Our brother, John the Baptist, was just beheaded and it caused all of us to become concerned. Will our fate be the same as his?
As I wrestled these questions, my mind drifted to the hillside earlier in the day.
I still can’t understand how the baskets never emptied. There were only five loaves of bread and two fish, I counted them myself. Yet as I handed out the bread myself, my basket stayed full. There must have been five thousand people there.
“Peter keep up,” James yelled.
I was falling behind in my rowing as the rest of the men fought against the sea. My mind has a tendency to wander as I consider the things I’m seeing. Sometimes I look on in wonder at the miracles, but other times I wrestle with doubt. Since I have decided to follow Jesus, I can’t explain what I feel or what I see with my logical mind. It’s difficult to comprehend it all. Is He really the Son of God?
It is an inexpressible and glorious joy to consider that He is the awaited Messiah. But look at Him. There’s nothing kingly about him, and He’s from Nazareth. But He was born in Bethlehem. I know these stories seem, well, cleverly invented, but I’m watching them with my own two eyes. Would my eyes deceive me?
My thoughts were interrupted by the figure of a man just off the stern of the boat. Terror swept over me. We were miles from shore. I tightened my gaze, rubbed my eyes and looked again. The others yelled, “It’s a ghost.”
As the figure came into focus, I saw that it wasn’t a ghost. It was Jesus.
My eyes widened and my entire body was engulfed with a chill. It was as if lightening was rushing through my skin. The hair stood up on my arms and the back of my neck felt cool.
Jesus was walking on the water.
Before I could compose myself, Jesus spoke, “Take courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”
I hardly considered His words as I replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
My eagerness hadn’t considered what I’d just said. But there wasn’t time to give it second thought.
“Come,” he said.
I accepted His invitation. My eyes stayed fixated on my Lord as I moved to step out of the boat. I never felt my foot touch anything. It’s as if I were walking on air. His presence as he held my gaze. It always had. He had an undeniable presence that spoke to the deepest part of my being. It was a welcoming mix of strength and humility. I even noticed a slight smile as I drew near.
At that moment, a gust of wind rushed over me and I felt a wave lap against my leg. I quickly came to my senses and turned my gaze back on the boat. The others were staring at me. Time began to speed up and my mind began racing. I was a good distance from the boat and the intensity of the wind pushed against my face. Suddenly, fear gripped my legs as if it were pulling me down. I felt myself fall into the darkness. I was sinking. The waves began to overtake me, but just before I went under my heart reminded me that Jesus was nearby.
I cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Before the words left my mouth, I felt a strong grip on my arm. It was Jesus, pulling me toward Himself. My eyes fixed on His as he looked at me and said:
“You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
If you find yourself like Peter, getting distracted by the circumstances of life and battling the truth that God’s Word contains, consider a new perspective.
Peter was a man, just like you and me, and God used him in a mighty way. That’s the beauty of God’s promise—He uses us if we would only have faith.
Regardless of where you are today, rest in Jesus’s words from Matthew 14:
“Take courage! It is I! Don’t be afraid” (vs. 27)
“Come” (vs. 29)