Recently I found myself turning back to a story which has continued to impact my life over the course of the last few years. At this point, it is most familiar to me as I have turned it inside out in search of its depth of meaning, always to discover a new gem of truth.
Come back with me to Matthew 14, where we find Peter and his friends on a boat, in the middle of the lake, during a storm. We are told that they were far from land, the winds were strong, and they were fighting heavy waves.
Fear begins to set in as they see Jesus walking toward them on the water. It is then Jesus speaks to them, “Don’t be afraid, ” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Courage – the quality that helps us to face a difficult situation, or danger, perhaps pain. It’s bravery when the odds are stacked against you.
In the midst of the raging storm, Peter makes a seemingly odd request – “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” And the Lord replies simply, “Come.”
Peter climbs out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus as if on solid, or firm, ground.
Just as surely as he walked on water, when he took his eyes off Jesus, fear set in and he began to sink. He again calls to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!” Jesus immediately reaches out and grabs him, keeping Peter safe until they both climb into the boat.
I have a deep, and newfound appreciation for this story.
Even when we “sink”, Jesus comes to our rescue. He has always been with us for He is the One who invited us out of the boat in the beginning. The point is not the success or failure, but that we dared to trust Him to meet us right there in the moment.
What Peter should have remembered was that he could not walk any better on smooth water than on rough waves, except as sustained by the power of the Lord Himself. That power is just as great in the storm as in the calm.
Ironside Commentaries, Matthew by H.A. Ironside, page 110)
It is most often in the midst of a storm that we experience firsthand a display of the power of God.
And our response will be much the same as the disciples that day once Jesus and Peter climbed back into the boat,
“Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.” (Matthew 14:33, NLT)
No matter the situation facing you today, may you find peace that the power of our Lord is “just as great in the storm as in the calm!”