“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””
Matthew 14:25-33 NIV
I am the kind of person who struggles with a bit of anxiety, when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone. It takes me time to contemplate, mull over, and talk myself into doing things that frighten me.
I really admire Peter. He seemed to have this Aussie ‘give it a go’ kind of attitude. I imagine him to be a go-getter. Someone with what we like to call gumption or guts to do things that most people struggle with. Peter completely trusted Jesus.
The first step is always the hardest step. Matthew says that ‘Peter got down out of the boat’. I picture him bravely stepping out of the boat and heading over to where Jesus was standing. If it was me, I would have had to summon up the courage to get out of the boat, and then literally chucked myself over the edge before I chickened out of it.
I will say though that once I have taken the first step, it seems like the pieces of the puzzle come together and then off I go. I might start with wobbly courage, but as I go along, the confidence grows and I learn to trust that it will all work out.
I get the impression that Peter confidently got out of the boat, he was probably excited, his adrenalin was running, and so once he was at the water he simply stepped out. His eyes locked in on Jesus. There was no sign of wobbly courage, but when the wind blew, he realised he was walking on water, and through fear, he became unsteady, and his faith wobbled.
We are like Peter in so many ways. How often does fear knock us off our faith perch? I’m not sure how strong that wind was that day, but it was enough for Peter to notice it, and instead of keeping his eyes locked in on Jesus, he allowed the distraction to take his gaze off Jesus, and of course he began to sink.
I like the concept of wobbly courage because it means I am actively looking at God for direction. My faith might wobble at times, but when I look back into the eyes of love and acceptance, I am sure everything is going to be okay again.