by Steven Gledhill for the FREEdom from MEdom Project
Why don’t we trust God?
We trust God when things are at least tolerable. But, you know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about really—fully—trusting God; especially when the going gets especially challenging.
Fear is in our nature, right? Let’s take a closer look.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” Faith comes from hope being realized in substance according to the evidence. We don’t see gravity but we experience gravity all the time. We know the truth about gravity and come to trust it even though we do not see it. It could be said that we have a relationship with gravity. Our lives are touched by gravity everyday.
The truth is that freedom is achieved through a revolutionary event. ‘Revolutionary’ means a sudden, radical, or complete change; a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something; a change in paradigm (belief, world view), meaning your standard for living. A sudden revelation of faith having encountered the Savior, Jesus Christ, will speak life into how you experience revolutionary transformative recovery in how you live everyday—a new standard of thinking and living, with healthy hopeful expectations. It is in relationship with Jesus that you will come to know God to be real and living. It is in relationship with Christ that you enter into the new age of grace that will usher you into the experience of new life.
Now immediately Jesus had His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side. And when He sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray. By evening, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea tossed by the waves, for the wind was opposing them. Now in the forth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. And immediately Jesus spoke to them, “Cheer up, it’s Me! Don’t be afraid.”
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, Lord save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Jesus, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 (NKJV)
I love this story. What a moment in the relationship Jesus had with Peter. We can all agree that Peter was the one that had enough faith to get out of the boat. There were two people in the Bible that walked on water. Jesus, of course, but the other person that walked on water was Peter. We often focus on the fact that Peter doubted and began to sink. We tend to forget that Peter’s faith in Christ was quite impressive. Peter did indeed walk on water—an impossible feat.
Peter recognized that Jesus was doing something that was impossible for him to do. He could admit that it was outside of the realm of his own ability to walk on water. Peter shouted out to Jesus, “If it’s You, Lord, command me to walk on the water.” Peter believed that only Jesus could command the water to support his body so that he could walk on it. Jesus responded to Peter, “The water’s nice, come on in!” Peter committed to trusting Jesus. He got out of the boat and walked on the water. Peter did well trusting Jesus until he realized he was walking in the middle of the sea surrounded by waves blown about by boisterous winds, and he became overwhelmed by his circumstance and wavered in his commitment to trust Jesus to help him with his problem.
Gripped by fear, Peter dropped like a rock, but Scripture assures us that Jesus was right there to catch him. As soon as Peter began to sink he reached up and Jesus caught him. He would not let Peter drown in his circumstance.
Here is something else to think about. How far was Jesus from the boat when Peter got out and began walking on water? Jesus was far enough away that the disciples were not sure they recognized him. Remember, Peter said, “If it’s you…” Wherever Jesus was in the sea relative to his distance from the boat, Peter walked on water to within an arm’s length of Jesus. I don’t know but Peter may have walked some distance before he sank and was caught. While it was definitely a teaching moment, I tend to think Jesus had a smile on his face when he said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I imagine that Jesus displayed a grin, as if to say to Peter, “What’s the problem, big guy, you’re only walking on water?” Peter walked on water! The Bible says Jesus was received into the boat, but what about Peter? Peter walked on water together with Jesus back to the boat. I’m sure Peter was still quite frightened even as he walked with Jesus back to the boat. I’ll even guess that Peter hung on for dear life to the arm of Christ as they walked.
Pastor Fran Leeman (LifeSpring Community Church, Plainfield, IL) spoke about Peter walking on water out to Jesus. Peter and the disciples were sailing in the midst of a terrible storm when he saw Jesus, apparently standing out on the water. How was this possible? How could a man stand on the water? Peter shouted out, “Jesus, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes come,” Jesus said (Matthew 14:28-29, NLT). Pastor Leeman pointed out that he would have said, “Jesus, if it’s you, calm the storm!” He said he would have wanted to see the evidence that it was Jesus, but that Peter took a much different approach. Rather than ask Jesus to prove himself real by doing the impossible, Peter asked Jesus to empower him, Peter, to do the impossible by the power given him by Jesus. What profound truth.
Recovery in the midst of your circumstances can feel like you are walking on water in order to manage. But if it’s in your own strength and not in relationship with Jesus then it’s likely you are overwhelmed and sinking, or perhaps drowning. With Christ, you have the ability—even authority—in the middle of all of it to do something extraordinary. Call on Jesus. Then, as he says, “Come to me,” get out of the boat that is your comfort-zone and walk on water with Jesus, even if you’re hanging on for dear life.