Step Out of your Boat
By: Jenny White
“ ‘Come,’ [Jesus] 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?’
Matthew 14: 29-31
For someone of ‘little faith’ you gotta give Peter some credit for trusting Jesus enough to step out of the safety and comfort of his boat. Lots of times we read this story as what ‘not to do.’ But unlike the other disciples, Peter had a lot of courage to walk out of the boat in the first place. That’s the first thing Jesus calls us to do: Come. Accept our calling and follow him (Mark 8:34). Pope Benedict XVI once said, “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” That’s just what the boat is— it’s comfortable. When we try to control our lives, we are staying in the boat. But how long till your situation changes? How long will it keep you safe and happy? How long until the waves consume the wood and leave you stranded? You don’t need a boat. You need a savior.
Two summers ago I was standing on the edge of a big decision—literally. Water crashed below my clenched feet as I braced myself for a 30 foot drop. I was waterfall jumping in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and in that moment, the only drop further than that pool at the bottom was my stomach. I wouldn’t say I am afraid of heights—it’s the falling part that gets to me. I was having this out of body experience where my mind said ‘jump’ but my muscle screamed ‘stop’. With one last breath of air, I closed my eyes, and the rock disappeared from under me. That’s the kind of fullness we must give to God. One big, whole-hearted jump. A leap of faith, if you will. There’s no halfsies. Once you step your foot off that cliff, you’re all in.
With that same leap of faith, Peter steps out of the boat. His gaze pointed towards Jesus, and for a moment he is doing it—he is walking on water. Then Peter shifts his focus from the source of his power to the problems that surrounded him. The wind screeches and the waves look as big as giants. His heart races and he begins to sink. Oftentimes we make our fears greater than they really are. Just earlier the disciples became terrified when they saw Jesus walking on water crying out ‘it’s a ghost!” (Matthew 14:26). I do this all the time: making something out of nothing, overthinking and thinking again, and believing the lies I make up in my head.
On top of that waterfall, the longer I stood there, the scarier it got. The waterfall didn’t get any higher, but my thoughts got heavier. The thing is, when we dwell on our fears it paralyzes us. I’ve never really had a problem with focusing on the positives until a wave of negatives penetrated my life. People I loved passed away, friends grew their separate ways, and school was not on my side. However, making pain, hurt, and stress the center of attention blinds us of all the blessings in our life.
Go listen to the song Oceans by Hillsong United. Sometimes God isn’t there to rescue us from the storm, but to walk with us through it. Even though Peter was not looking at Jesus, He never left his side. This song is so powerful because you are singing, not for a rescue mission, but for the trust to cry out “take me deeper.” Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. Take me deeper into the storm Lord. I Fix my eyes on you, Jesus. I Fix my eyes in seasons of joy, and I’ll Fix my eyes in this storm of finals. You've never failed and You won't start now.