Thursday, May 2, 2013

Steppin' into the Water

I live in Louisiana, and there are a lot of farmers who plant crops like cotton, soy, sugar cane, corn, maize. I am always so amazed at how they can keep their rows so dead-gum straight?! I have a hard time trimming my bangs straight much less keeping a row over 30 yards straight. I’ve been told that the farmer has a mark at the end of every segment or row that he keeps his eye on and aim his equipment with that mark. If the farmer looks away from the mark, the row will not be straight because the equipment will follow where his eye wanders. I think you’ll get the point of this story by reading a little further.

So now we are hitting where the rubber hits the road, the pedal is to the metal. We have gotten to the meat of the matter. Sorry for all the clich├ęs. Peter is asking to step out of the boat. I think the first indicator that there is a question of Peter’s faith comes in verse 28, “Lord, IF it’s you.” Have you ever had something or someone laid on your heart, and you ask God, “Okay, God, IF this is from you…” Been there, done that. Not in starting, but in other areas of my life and ministry I sure have. The point I’m making is don’t cast a stone at Peter when you’ve done the exact same thing yourself. Just sayin’.

Peter goes on to say, “command” or “tell me” to come to you. And Jesus obliges. From fear of a ghost to faith with action, I’m trying to put myself in Peter’s sandals. They didn’t have water skiing back then, boogie boards, wave runners, or anything like that, so seeing Jesus on the water had to be one of the most completely foreign sights ever. People try to explain away how Jesus walked on the water, or they say it was metaphoric in nature. Those who say that show the same amount of faith as the disciples who stayed in the boat. I believe he actually walked on the water. I believe there is no other explanation other than Jesus is God and has control over all the elements of this world. I believe that Jesus feet didn’t get wet if he didn’t want them wet.

Something else I want to point out before it leaves my mind faster than a greased pig in a pig-catching contest at a rodeo. Jesus knows Peter is going to struggle and fail, and he allows him to struggle and fail. I don’t know about you, but I hate to see my kids struggle, fall and fail, and yet it is pivotal in the growth of Peter’s faith in Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell Peter, “No, don’t come out here, you’re going to sink.” He didn’t say, “No, don’t come out here because you aren’t God and can’t handle it.” He didn’t say, “This is above your faith level.” Jesus simply said, “Come.” One word. I have to admit I’m a bit loquacious at times. But the Bible says in Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise,” and I need to remember that in my parenting. Yes, this is walking all over me. That’s the way the Word of God works, isn’t it? To correct and to teach us.

So, Jesus knowing all, knew that Peter would fail but was willing to let Peter struggle and fail. What did this struggle and failure prove to Peter? Verse 31 says it simply, “Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him…” Peter didn’t reach out to Jesus. Jesus reached out to Peter during his struggle. Jesus pulled Peter up when he was going under. Jesus was there when Peter could do nothing for himself because everything else including the wind was against him. Peter cried out to Jesus to save him, and Jesus didn’t hesitate. Verse 31 says, “Immediately Jesus reached out.” Another lesson is Jesus never sank. He never struggled. He never failed. Those are some powerful lessons in faith, don’t you think?

And the reason Peter started going under, do you remember? Verse 30 says, “But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid.” How big is your storm? How big is the problem you are facing? I’m here to tell you, Jesus walks on water. He controls the elements. My God has gone before me and hems me in from the front and the back (Ps 119). He makes the rough places smooth and makes the dark light (Is 42:16). What my God does for me, He can and will do for you. If you haven’t asked Jesus as your Lord and Savior there is no better time than the present. Peter’s attention went from focusing on the face of Jesus to the problems at his own feet. The water, the waves crashing around his feet. (Ever feel like things are falling apart quicker than you can put them back together?) This wind was blowing strong currents. (Ever feel like if one more thing is piled on that you will just fall over?) And if he had a fear of drowning or a fear of failure, just add that to the problems he was focusing on. In your current situation or problem, what are you focusing on? At any point in time, we, as his children, can call out, “Lord, save me!” And he is mighty to save.

Peter saw how big his problem was. He saw all of the potential outcomes, and none of them were pleasant if he stayed looking at the circumstances. He started going down in the water when he took his focus off Jesus. He stayed in the water because he failed to realize that Jesus was bigger than his problem, but Jesus was bigger than the problem and reached out to him. Jesus is bigger than your problem, people. Keep your eye on him, and you won’t get off track or miss your mark.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

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