About three o’clock in the morningb Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strongd wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. (Matthew 14:25-32, NLT)
Where do we find hope when we come to the end of our strength? What can we learn from this familiar text?
The first thing we have to do when unexpected storms arise is to look for Jesus. The image of the story is telling. The story said that Jesus came to them walking on the water. What threatened the disciples overhead was already under his feet (cf. Ephesians 1:19-21). No matter what we face in life, Jesus is in authority over it.
The second thing we must do is listen to Jesus. Look at his words of assurance. “Don’t be afraid, take courage, I am here.” The literal translation of this verse would render, “Don’t be afraid, take courage, I AM.” Does that ring any bells? I AM is the name God gave Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. Through it Jesus declared both his deity and his sufficiency.
Next, we must trust Jesus. In a moment of boldness, Peter asked if he could walk to Jesus on the water, and Jesus invited him. The other disciples must have thought he was nuts as he climbed over the side of that small fishing boat and stepped out onto the surface of the sea. Peter demonstrated great faith, and helps us understand that if you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat. There’s another lesson we learn from this experience. Keep your gaze on the Savior and your glance at your problem. When Peter took his focus off of Jesus, he began to sink and in desperation cried out to be rescued. I don’t know how Peter got back to the boat. Either he walked back with Jesus or was carried back by Jesus. Neither is a bad option!
Finally, we should worship Jesus. When Jesus and Peter got in the boat, the storm subsided. The disciples joined in worship and praise as they reaffirmed their conviction that Jesus was the Son of God.
When your life gets rocked by an unexpected storm, look, listen, trust and worship is the protocol to follow. Jesus may deliver you from the storm. But he may deliver you through the storm. That’s how we mature in faith. If you never had a problem you’d never know he could solve it.