“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus”

(Matthew 14:29).

 Then, at that moment, it happened—he took his eyes off Jesus.  When he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was afraid and began to sink.

We can expect difficulties and trials as part of our faith journey.  We recognize our fear but face it head-on by stepping out anyway.  Growth and fear go together, and they require taking on new challenges that test our faith.

When you risk leaving the boat it gets easier the next time.  That is how a toddler learns to walk.  Soon, you realize that fear no longer has power over you it once had.  Like the Energizer Bunny, you just keep going and going and going!

However, if you resist God’s voice and continue to stay in the boat, each time it becomes a little softer until eventually you will not hear it at all.  How tragic!  You do not want to risk silencing, or quenching, the Holy Spirit within through disobedience.

Furthermore, how safe is your storm-tossed boat anyway where unknown dangers lurk, and your safety are not guaranteed?  Eventually you will die from something, so the antidote for fear is to get out of the boat more and more until fear loses its grip.

Actually, the real failures were those who stayed in the boat.  They failed quietly—unnoticed and uncriticized.   Who had the greatest faith here?  Although Peter’s faith crashed and our focus has been on him, at least he experienced the thrill of walking on the water!  He alone knew the ecstasy of being empowered by God to do what he could never have done without Him.   After having walked on water, Peter was never the same.  Neither are we when our trust in God takes us to new heights of joy in our walk of faith.  Peter also experienced the joy of being lifted by Jesus in his moment of sinking despair.

He knew for certain, in a way the others did not, that if he sank, Jesus was there to rescue him.  By his words, “Lord, save me!” he shared a connection, a precious moment of trust those who never left the boat did not. Therefore, it is not our failures that sink us but it is giving our fears power to stop us! 

Stepping out of the boat for the first time, or after we’ve failed, is an excellent way to develop “deep-water faith.”  Jesus was not in the boat but on the water.  Our success is assured when we are willing to leave our predictable comfort zone and step out with Him.

Perhaps you have created an orderly life for yourself and maintained the illusion of control, but now God is disturbing your comfortable little boat by shaking things up and urging you to step out in faith. He is allowing you to face waves that are over your head in order to increase your dependence on Him.

“Give to the winds thy fears; hope, and be undismayed;

God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears; God shall lift up thy head.

Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way.

Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day.”–Paul Gerhardt