The disciples had just come away from an amazing miracle — feeding thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish! Now they were back in the boat and working their way across the Sea of Galilee while Jesus stayed behind to pray. He would catch up to them on foot, crossing north of the lake.
At first, their progress was slow but steady. But as the sun fell, the wind continued to pick up, and the waves grew higher and higher until they were foaming with whitecaps. What should have been an easy two or three-hour trip had become hours and hours of an agonizing crawl, with the threat of capsizing the loaded boat a real and present danger.
Then someone spotted something, or someone, on the water! In the dark, it was hard to know what they saw. Exhausted and on edge, and now realizing it was a person walking on the water, they panicked in fear. “It’s a ghost,” someone cried.
Could it be? The figure they saw looked like the Master. Then he called out to them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.” Before anyone knew what to say, Peter the Impulsive called back, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said the unthinkable: “Come.”
As the rest of the disciples watched in disbelief, Peter climbed out of the boat and began to walk toward Jesus. What was he thinking! The fact is, he wasn’t. He was acting with his heart more than his brain, but that soon would change. Once Peter began to notice the wind and the waves about him, his resolve melted in fear. Starting to slip beneath the water, Jesus caught Peter and lifted him up. As they got into the boat, the wind suddenly died down, and all was calm and peaceful.
Can you identify with the disciples? Does it seem like life is knocking you around and you can’t make any headway? Does it feel like you’re going to drown? In the midst of life’s mayhem, Jesus looks at you and says, “Come.”
How hard it is to keep our eyes fixed on Him! We naturally want to dwell on the problem instead of Jesus. Let’s follow Peter’s initial response, acting with our heart to trust Jesus and keeping our minds on him instead of our troubles. In the midst of it all, He will keep us in peace. As expressed by these words from Isaiah:
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Is. 26:3)
(The above story was based on Matthew 14:22-33, NABRE).