By Benjamin H. Liles
I never thought about what going through life looks like until I started thinking on these sets of verses. We have a firsthand account from Matthew. He probably wrote his gospel not just from interviewing Peter, but in all probability was present when this happened. We read, "Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary" (Matthew 14:22-24, New King James).
A lot of times in our lives storms come up. At times things go awry in our every day lives; someone in our family gets cancer, or someone has a massive heart attack while they are grocery shopping. But the news is always devastating. We mourn the loss of our loved ones life. These storms are inevitable. Divorce rocks what seems to be a perfectly good marriage. Even when it appears to be godly. People who go through these moments aren't always lacking faith when they start sinking in these storms that Jesus calls them out to doing something in their faith.
To the disciples, seeing Jesus walking on the storm driven waves of the Galilean sea, He looked like a ghost to them, for Matthew records, "They were troubled." Jesus speaks to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I do not be afraid" (Matthew 14:26, 27). Yet we're most often scared of those things that don't make a great deal of sense to us. Like losing our job for no reason. Or maybe it's one whammy after another: your parent dies, your spouse leaves you, and you lose your job. So, what do you do?
For Peter it wasn't a huge, pressing issue. "Peter answered Him and said, 'Lord, is it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' [Jesus says}, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus'" (Matthew 14:28, 29). Faith, when it is accompanied by action, always has a direct and correlating result of work. Peter didn't balk at Jesus standing on the waves of the sea of Galilee. He spoke to Jesus and Jesus commanded Peter, "Come." So Jesus gets out of the boat and walks on the water to Him.
Maybe in the middle of your circumstances right now Jesus is asking you to put your faith, your trust in Him. Keep your eyes focused on Him, obeying what He's telling you. Yes, the storm is waging about you, but as long as our eyes are on our Savior, not on the circumstance you can "Do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). If we look between what we're being told in Matthew 14 and what Paul is saying here, we see that our faith in Jesus empowers us, He strengthens and helps us keep going.
Friend, I know right now you're most likely hurting, feeling shell-shocked and confused. Your doubts seem to overwhelm you. So, even though your faith in Jesus is strong, you take your eyes off Him even if momentary. Like Peter this happens: "But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!'" (Matthew 14:30). So, Jesus reaches out telling both Peter and us, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31). As I finish this I am reminded of what true, authentic faith is. Unbending, unyielding faith in the power of God through Jesus sustains us through all times: good and bad. Our eyes must always remain on the One who saved us from sin and death. Look to Jesus in those moments and praise Him for the things He has done, continues to do, and will continue to do. I pray this helps you in this time. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.