What Would Peter Do?
When I last wrote (and I can't believe it's been so long), I said this would be my title the next time I wrote, but God is still teaching me about this subject. It's been months since I wrote and SO much has happened in those months and I know you don't want me to write a book....at least not right now...right here. (except Bill and Oleg).
I will restate one thing that I've said before, which is that God is teaching us about unconditional love. Living out unconditional love on a daily basis is very hard. It's actually impossible. Thank goodness God promises that through HIM, all things are possible.
First I want to start out saying that I will probably be changing my blog address. Webnode turned out not to be such a great choice. The whole time we were in Ukraine adopting, I had to keep "upgrading" in order to add pictures and I still can't even add pictures. I noticed when I went back and re-read some of the blog and tried clicking on my links to pictures that I set up, they didn't even work. That's not webnode’s fault...except that I can’t put them here. Now it's time to renew the web page and they will put it back to "free mode" if I don't decide to pay for a renewal, which means a lot of the webpage will be gone. I'll let you know if I decide to re-up or change. And of course let you know the new address.
Now, do I tell you how we're doing, how our Christmas was (which was GREAT), how we're starting to bond, or do I try putting in words what God is teaching me about Peter and this stepping out of the boat thing?
I guess I'll talk about Peter because it's never out of my thoughts. God is constantly bringing it to me. I just don't think I'll say anything that you don't already know but as I was searching the Scriptures and re-reading this story, God showed me a few things that I didn’t realize before. You know His Word is alive, so there is always something new to learn. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what ever God wants to tell you. God is good like that. Perhaps as I look in Scripture to write these thoughts down, He’ll reveal even more to me.
The miracle of Jesus walking on water can be found in
Matthew 13:22-33, Mark 6:47-52, and John 6:16-21. Jesus had just fed the 5,000 + people on the mountain and then sent His disciples on ahead in their boat while He went on up the mountain to be alone and pray. Let that sink in first, will you? No, really, just think about that. You know that story. When I really think about what Jesus did here, it just blows my mind! OK, now move on.
That night, a storm came up and started tossing the boat around. I hope all those people had time to make it home or find shelter. But we'll focus on the story at hand. Sometime before the miracle of feeding all those people, Jesus had already shown His disciples His power over nature when He stopped a previous storm. He was in a boat with them and was asleep when the storm started brewing. They found out what He was capable of. Now, they find themselves in another storm. I’m surprised they weren’t yelling for him all night while they were battling with their sails and oars. The men were fighting with the wind while they took turns on their watch.
God just showed me something here. How many times do we do this in our lives. The enemy is always attacking us. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That’s what he does. He never stops. He literally hates us and he wants to destroy us. Sometimes we sit in the midst of our storm, fighting with our own power, getting tossed back and forth and we don’t cry out to God. What’s wrong with this picture. I could expound here, but I don’t think I need to, do you?
In the middle of the night (some time between 3-6 in the morning) Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. The disciples saw Him and were terrified. Jesus immediately said to them (Matthew 17:27) “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
God doesn’t want us to live our Christian walk in fear. He wants us to follow Him with trust and abandonment.
I don’t know why, but only Matthew talks about what Peter does. Both Luke and John skip right to where Jesus gets into the boat. Jesus getting into the boat is very important and it’s something I’ve missed all along and it’s one of the things God taught me as I’ve been pondering this story for this past year- but we can’t miss what Peter did. The other guys were probably still working hard to control the boat but were still scared to death at this ghost they saw walking on the water. Even after they knew it was Jesus, they still had to control the boat. After all, if the boat capsizes, they’re gonners. Peter, on the other hand, knew his comfort and peace was out there in the water-not on the boat. He knew his security was a few feet away and he just had to get to him, no matter what. In verse 28, Peter boldly says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Ever since God first called me to Ukraine, I have felt like Peter, stepping out of that boat. It was huge. I mean HUGE! Never have I taken such a huge step of faith. Then, He called us to adopt. HUGE.R!
Bill and I (and our whole family including Viktor) can certainly relate to those high waves and those scary winds that are knocking us down and making it hard for us to stand up. We can sure relate to how hard it is to take those steps across the water and keep our eyes on Jesus and not fall down in the water. We can relate to how alone Peter is out there on the water. Everyone else is in the boat.
Those on the boat might be cheering Peter on and telling him how brave he is. Or maybe they’re whispering about how crazy he is and that he should have never done that. Maybe they’re wishing they had his faith but just can’t make their bloody knuckles let go of that rope. Yes, he’s with Jesus, but he still has absolutely no support; no one helping him stand up. No one telling him, “Don’t look around! Look at Jesus!” No matter what is going on in the boat, Peter is still out there in the water alone.
Sometimes I wonder why this journey is so hard when we’ve obeyed and trusted and believed. We know the enemy is not for God’s plans so he is attacking. That’s a given. We know when things are worth fighting for, it’s not easy. Am I doing what Peter would do? Am I doing what Peter did? Peter cried out, “Lord save me” and Jesus reached out to him and pulled him out of the water. They climbed into the boat and the wind died down. The wind died down.
If you are in the midst of a storm, have you called out to Jesus? Are you trusting Him? First of all, have you taken that step of faith? Are you searching for security in something other than Jesus? Take His hand. He is reaching out to you. He wants to calm your storm. He promises to be there through the storm and strengthen you.
One more thing I noticed. The friends of Jesus did not praise God until Jesus got into the boat and the winds calmed. Too many times we do this very same thing. God is always worthy of our praise, even in the midst of the storm. He is God; the Creator of the universe. We are too quick to forget all the times He has been there for us. We are too quick to forget He has always kept His promises, provided for us, helped us, and heard our cry. The followers of Jesus have been with Him long enough to know He can heal the sick, raise the dead, and multiply a tiny lunch into a huge feast for thousands and thousands of people, yet, they panicked and forgot Who brought them this far.
I want to add that we are so thankful for our friends and family who have been praying for us and supporting us in so many ways this past year. As I re-read what I wrote, it sounded like no one is there for us, which is so untrue. We have an amazing group of friends and family who pray for us, who call us, and who are there for us. Without them and our faithful Father, we would all be treading water.