Beach time!

Beach time!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seeing the wind

(keep in mind, this is immediately following the feeding of the 5,000 with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish)

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water.
"Come," he 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 14:25-32

This is a story I have been familiar with for many years In fact, I'll bet you anything that I've seen this story played out on a flannel board in my younger days. Truth? I think in my heart I always judged Peter for being doubtful and for lacking the faith that I thought he should have. However, these days, I think there are times when I relate unnervingly well with Peter. Here is what I notice. First, take note that they have just been a part of the miraculous dividing of the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes to feed 5000 (plus women and children!). Jesus removed them from the crowds while he dismissed the crowds and went to pray. Next, the immediate reaction of all of them was one of fear (assuming the figure was a ghost and not Jesus). Next is the point where I have taken a new perspective on this story. Peter is the only one who has enough faith to even yell out to Jesus when he identifies himself. Not only does he call out but he also takes the dive (literally) and steps out of the boat to walk to Jesus. I would have loved to see the other disciples faces at this moment. Did they try to stop him or were they so paralyzed in fear that they watched with wide eyes? Did they wish that they were the ones to step out or were they glad that Peter did instead? Either way, there was strength in those steps out of the boat.

Peter walks on the water towards Jesus, with his eyes on his messiah. But when he saw the wind he began to sink. Oh, how many times have we had our eyes on Christ, focused, spending time in His word, and then we see the wind and begin to sink? The wind can be a job loss, a diagnosis, family strife, or any kind of loss. For just that split second we take our eyes off of Jesus and see the wind and we immediately sink. We cry out to our Lord just as Peter did, "Lord, save me!". What does our messiah do? Does he leave us there to learn a lesson about faith and courage? Immediately Jesus. Immediately Jesus reaches out his hand, catches us, and strengthens our faith. Immediately Jesus.

Perhaps I've been too hard on Peter because I have clearly been here more times than I would care to admit. How do we keep our eyes on Jesus and ignore the wind? That is what this year is about for me. Learning to ignore the wind and look out to Jesus, all the while knowing that when I do fail, immediately Jesus reaches out his hand to me and rescues me.

May we all keep our eyes on the messiah and ignore the winds that howl around us.

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