I never cease to be amazed at the depth of my God’s goodness and the shallowness of my own nature. I get caught up in the waves, looking at the worries that surround me, getting caught up in the frustrations of this world, and I start sinking into anger, irritation –into sin. How easy it was to jump off the boat, and say to God, “Here am I, send me!” And yet when the jumping off the boat is old news, when the waves are what is new –it is then that excitement turns to worry, and faith loses focus.
The story of Peter is one that I have grown up hearing. I have heard it told as if Peter was a hero, and as if he were an embarrassment. I have heard it told with Jesus commanding him to “Come!” in a military like voice, and in an excited “Come on down!” Price is Right voice. I never understood, how a man walking on water looking into the face of the Son of God could start to sink. It seemed absurd. He was within Jesus’ arms reach (His actual tangible human arms reach!) and lost focus of Him.
I have been a Christian for a good 20 years –so by all accounts I should be pretty well near perfect, right? Oh how sad it is, that is so far from the truth.
I used to feel a tinge of embarrassment for Peter; his own eagerness did him in. It was not until awhile back, while reflecting on Peter’s story that I realized how incredibly thankful I am for his testimony.
How often God sweeps me up from the waves, rescuing me from my own self. Sometimes he sternly speaks, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt me?” At times he sweetly whispers, and then there are those occasions when he yells. And like an angry parent, he pulls out the whole name and asks “Why did you doubt me?”
In all honesty, I have no excuse for doubting, maybe I have not seen Jesus as a physical man, but I have a lifetime of experiences –of evidence that He is who He says He is. I have seen mountains (okay of trash, but them moving was a miracle) moved, people miraculously healed, and lives completely transformed.
I am so thankful that the Bible is more than a ‘how to’ manual for living, that it is more than sterile directions on correct living, quite a bit of it is about man’s failed attempt to please God. Even the Bible does not always glamorous the disciples. They fell asleep. They ran away. They acted like me.
It is in those failed attempts that God speaks, that He teaches me. Someone once said, that if God is not the hero of your Bible stories, you are not telling the stories right. How true that is, God uses man for His glory, but God is always the hero.
There have been times in life when the waves seemed awfully big, when I was certain I was sinking. And I know that it is very likely going to happen again and again.
I hope that like Peter, when I begin to sink, I cry out to the Lord. I hope that when He rescues me, I can be a testimony. That people will say, “Certainly He is the Son of God.” I hope that through the waves of my life, people can come to know Jesus and to worship Him.
I am after all only a broken vessel, in which His light shines through.
(Peter's story is found in Matthew 16:13-20.)