30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
How often do we begin to sink in life? In our spiritual journey, there are high points and low points. Notice that just before verse 30, Peter was literally walking on water. Now that he has become frightened, he has decreased in his faith and began to sink. The wind and waves around us in our life distracts and frightens us and we lose our focus on Jesus and begin to sink. The Apostle Paul tries to encourage us in this point through what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:
4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight – 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
Paul explains that we are spiritual beings in a physical world. Things will burden us. Things will work to bring us down. We will even be distracted by the physical world and it can cause fear within us. But he tells us to have courage, because we always have the Lord with us. This is what we see when Peter cries out for Jesus to save him. How many of us would have tried to swim back to the boat instead? How long would it have taken us stubborn folk to ask for help? This is our pride kicking in when we think we can save ourselves. Fear and pride are what lead us to our death. Faith and humility are what not only lead to our salvation, but the abundant and miraculous life Jesus has planned for us. Consider what Jesus said in John 10:
10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
He is explaining in this chapter who He is as the Great Shepherd in relation to us as His sheep. He explains how He is our guide that protects us from the evil of this world…as long as we will hear His voice and obey it fully. When Jesus commanded Peter to come out of the boat (at Peter’s request), Jesus didn’t tell him to look around and take in the scenery. He told Peter to come to Him. Notice how we tend to complicate the situation? Peter didn’t stay focused on Jesus and that was his downfall. It wasn’t until Peter’s life was challenged that he cried out to Jesus and refocused upon Him.
Why do we wait until the last possible moment? Why do we say silly things like, “well, we’ve done all we can, now all we can do is pray.” Seeking Jesus is the first thing we should be doing, not using Him as a last resort. Peter was WALKING-ON-WATER in the beginning. He wasn’t relying on Jesus as a last resort, but a first resort. That is, until he became afraid and distracted. Too often we look at God as our plan B, C, D or even Z and could save ourselves a whole lot of trouble if we go “all in” and rely on Him as plan A without a backup plan in mind. It’s scary, I know. I’ve done it myself and it is a very vulnerable place to be in. We want to be able to do it and trust Him fully. We get better at it the more we try. Peter put his whole life in Jesus’ hands and activated his faith by stepping out of the boat. He took it back when he lost focus and began to sink. Then he cried out to the only one he knew could save him.
Jesus will help us when we cry out to Him but we too often put ourselves in situations where He has to save us. If we remain focused on Him in the first place, He not only won’t have to save us, but we will be able to experience His full power in our lives. We will be able to walk on water amidst the storm.