Stormy Trials Are Under the Feet of Jesus

Reference: Matthew 14: 22-33– A summary of this familiar account is in the paragraph below:

After Jesus fed the 5,000, He constrained his disciples to sail to the other side of the sea while He sent the multitudes away. The boat was tossed about due to high winds and when Jesus walked toward them on the water during the fourth watch (between 3:00 and 6:00 am) they were fearful. Thinking He was a spirit they cried out in fear, but Jesus reassured them that it was Him and they need not be afraid. Then Peter asked to come to Jesus if it was truly Him; and Jesus said, “Come.” Peter obeyed and actually walked on the water out to Jesus but began to sink when he took his eyes off of Him and focused on the stormy sea; immediately Jesus pulled Peter up. When they got to the ship, the wind ceased and the disciples began to worship Jesus as the true Son of God.

There are many wonderful aspects to the story whereby we could draw valuable spiritual lessons; however, this post will focus on a part that is not actually spelled out in the account: How did Peter and Jesus return to the boat? It does not seem reasonable that Jesus would have dragged Peter through the water- He had already lifted the disciple out of the water; nor does it seem likely that Jesus carried Peter back to the others. We read that upon their return to the ship, the wind ceased; after which, the rest of those in the boat affirmed and worshiped Jesus as the true Son of God.

Although it is not recorded (and therefore cannot be known with certainty), it seems likely that Peter remained on top of the water and walked back to the boat holding on to Jesus. I identify with Peter in the way his faith fluctuated: First, he enthusiastically stepped out in faith when his Teacher called to him- without any hesitation or pondering, he was momentarily sustained by faith. However, as the waves slapped at his feet and legs and the wind howled, his attention was drawn to his circumstances and away from the One who sustains us- he began to literally sink and succumb to circumstances due to increasing doubt. Finally in desperation, Peter called out to Jesus- weakened in faith, but looking again to his Savior. It is very possible that as he clung to Jesus, Peter was able to walk on the water, safely returning to the boat where the winds of calamity ceased.

The key lesson for me is found in the words Jesus spoke to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:31). Jesus’s words remind me of two essential truths regarding faith:

It is comforting to know that if I can maintain even a tiny faith, such as the size of a mustard seed, it is powerful enough to move mountains when not weakened by doubt. Jesus will not let me drown in my circumstances despite my little faith when I call out to Him as Peter did…He is faithful and able to lead me through the winds of trial until they have ceased- Jesus is worthy of my praise!