Peter is a very endearing, relatable disciple. I appreciate his “act first, think later” attitude and the way that he jumps wholeheartedly into opportunities to serve and love Jesus, demand answers, and fight for justice. One of my favorite stories about Peter is the story of Jesus walking on water. The disciples had been fishing all night long without any success. I would imagine that they were tired, frustrated, and probably in desperate need of a good bath. That’s when they thought they saw someone walking on water, and with good reason, they were absolutely terrified. But then Jesus yelled out, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” (v. 27)
When Peter realizes that the mysterious figure walking on the water is Jesus, he decides that he wants to walk on the water with Jesus. The narrator in the book doesn’t explain why Peter wanted to walk on the water; there may have been several intentions behind his desire to do this. Either way, he gets bold and confident and asks Jesus to invite him to come onto the water. And Jesus does.
In that initial moment of stepping out of the boat, I like to imagine that Peter felt excited, bold, and confident in his decision to join his spiritual leader on the waves. That rush of adrenaline, the thrill of doing a radical thing because of his faith – who doesn’t love that feeling?
So Peter leaps out of the boat, plants his feet on top of the water (miracle of miracles!) and the initial roar of adrenaline that got him out of the boat suddenly halts, and Peter realizes that his confidence is no match for the ocean’s tumult. He is going to drown.
Peter’s confidence and then immediate panic is so relatable. How many times have you made the decision, sent the email, signed the paper, bought the plane ticket, said the vow and then realized that the decision you had made was far more life-altering or threatening than you had thought?
The good news is that Jesus doesn’t call us to make radical decisions and then leave us to fend for ourselves. He asks us to be confident and bold because he gives us strength and power to do hard things. He is with us. He cares deeply for us. He empowers us to do things we never thought were possible.
As Peter began to doubt and found himself sinking into the turbulent, salty waters, he cried out for rescue. Jesus did not shame, lecture, or refuse to help. Rather, he immediately stretched out his hand and plucked Peter out of the water. He promises to do this for us when we cry out in our weakness as well. With this story in mind, let us be confident in God’s power in our lives to support and sustain us in the midst of the challenging callings he puts in our lives.
What attribute of God’s character gives you hope and confidence as you ponder his promise to support you during moments of fear and insecurity?