When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Matthew 14: 23-30
Several years ago we were in Northern California visiting some friends. Part of the trip included whitewater rafting on the American River. While we were never in any real danger, I can understand the fear of being pretty much at the mercy of the river.
In Matthew 14 Jesus sends the disciples away on a boat while he dismissed the people and then went to pray. While Jesus prayed the disciples struggled against the wind.
You know the rest of the story. Jesus reassures the disciples and Peter walks on the water for a moment only to sink when he focused on his circumstances instead of looking at Jesus.
At least Peter had the courage to attempt to walk toward Jesus while the others stayed in the relative safety of the boat.
Back to the American River. During our whitewater rafting trip, one of our friends had only one goal – to stay in the boat – to be safe- at all costs. In addition to his life jacket and helmet, he literally tied himself to the raft so that he could not be thrown out by the waves.
How many of us live our lives safe inside our little boats? Are we missing an opportunity to walk on water? Will we ever see what God would like to accomplish in our lives?