It’s Time To Walk On Water

There was a short path through the woods we used to walk from time to time when our children were small. It was a serene space that only took about 10 minutes to walk through. For a short period, I felt the Lord direct me to get up at 5:55 AM, drive to the path, and go for a walk while I prayed.

But at 5:55 AM, the walk through the woods was not leisurely. It was dark. And slow. I stumbled from time to time. I stopped in my tracks at least once or twice because I was certain I saw something unworldly in the dark.

It feels a bit foolish to reflect on being afraid during that walk from the comfort of my desk with my mug of tea where everything is quiet, serene, and well lit. It was not foolish in the woods. My heartrate was elevated. My eyes were wide open to let in the maximum amount of light. The only thing I felt the Lord saying about it is: “There’s fear in you.”

There was fear in me. But I walked it everyday. And every morning as I approached the exit of the trail, the first rays of the morning sun were cresting over the horizon to illuminate my final steps along with all that was behind me. Perfectly timed. Perfectly placed.

After walking it so many times, the fear dissipated. It was still dark. The circumstances hadn’t changed, but I had. It became a nice walk and I looked forward to the light at the end that I knew was coming.

When Jesus got into the boat, his disciples went with him. Suddenly, a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat began to be swamped by the waves. Yet Jesus kept sleeping. They went to him and woke him up. “Lord!” they cried, “Save us! We’re going to die!” He asked them, “Why are you afraid, you who have little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed. “What kind of man is this?” they asked. “Even the winds and the sea obey him!” [Matthew 8:23-27 ISV]

In the storm with Jesus

In Matthew 8, the disciples find themselves on a stormy sea with Jesus sleeping in the boat. They woke Him up and Jesus calmed the storm. He scolded them a bit for being afraid, and then everything was fine.

In Matthew 14, the disciples found themselves in a similar situation. But this time, Jesus was not in the boat with them. There was no one to wake up who could speak to the storm and put an end to it. Instead, out of the storm, Jesus came walking towards them on the water.

The disciples mistake Jesus for a ghost. They were so afraid that Jesus had to shout at them: “Have courage! It is I. Stop being afraid!” (Matthew 14:27 – ISV)

I imagine myself in that boat, over the noise of the wind and the waves. I would shout back: “Lord, calm the storm!” or “Lord, hurry up and get in the boat – so you can calm the storm!”

One thing that would not have crossed my mind is what Peter shouted: “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28 – ISV)

Peter gets picked on in Christian writings for being impulsive. He had faults, but I could use a dose of Peter’s chutzpah.

In his first experience with Jesus on a stormy sea, Peter saw the Lord speak to the storm, and the storm obeyed His voice. The second time Peter was in a storm, he does not ask the Lord to speak to the storm like He did before. Peter asked the Lord to speak to him. I believe Peter realized that the real storm was the one inside of him. And if the Lord could speak to the wind and waves and they would be calmed, Peter’s faith told him that if the Lord spoke to him to walk on the sea, the storm of fear in him would be calmed and he would be able to do it, just the way the winds and the waves obeyed the Lord in Matthew 8.

What happens next was amazing. Peter stepped over the side of the boat and he walked on top of the water. Peter’s hope and safety was in Jesus. Not the boat.

Which scenario is a greater demonstration of the Lord’s Kingship? Having the storm obey Him, or having His disciple trust and obey him despite the storm? Which of the two pleases Him more? Nature obeying Him, or the budding faith of His disciple who also wants to be changed?

A Tale of Two Churches

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus instructed John to write down seven letters to seven different churches. Two churches have a lot of similarities. Unlike all the others, Smyrna and Philadelphia were not corrected by the Lord. Also, they both experienced the same opposition: “those who belong to the synagogue of Satan” and “those who claim they are Jews and are not” (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9). The circumstances of the two churches appear to be similar.

Jesus tells Philadelphia that He would make their enemies “come and bow down at your feet. Then they will realize that I have loved you.” That feels right to us. Philadelphia receives complete vindication in front of their enemies. Some people receive that in their walk with the Lord. Some people get to stay in the boat while the storm is calmed.

But Smyrna is told: “Don’t be afraid of what you are going to suffer.” They’re told they will be thrown in prison. And they would die. This is Jesus speaking. There’s no hiding behind philosophical ramblings about what God wants for all His people. Jesus is the highest authority. The question of “Why?” and “What about Philadelphia?” are not addressed. He doesn’t give an explanation why this injustice is not stopped. They’re only given an instruction not to be afraid. They’re told to get out of the boat.

Our Storms

Storms are noisy. We naturally give them our full attention because they represent a danger to our lives. Jesus’ counter-intuitive instruction in the middle of those storms in Matthew was “do not be afraid.” While we are focused on Jesus, we will be sustained through our storms. Like Peter, if we focus on the storm, we will sink.

As this world turns more and more from Christ, and the darkness intensifies and the storms increase, let us find our peace in Him rather than the comforts of the world. Walk with Him moment by moment. He will sustain us. In a demonstration of His Kingship, He can give us peace and joy in the middle of our storms, or during our walks on dark paths.

Take every thought captive in order to obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5 ISV

Our lives can feel like a storm. There are times when Jesus is in the boat with us, and He fixes our circumstances. Everything turns out pleasant and nice from the safety of our boat. Then there are times when the boat is not where the safety is – because Jesus is not in it. And in those times, we need to choose if we trust in Jesus – or in boats.

About The Author

Pastor Kenny
Doer of things and writer of much sought after thoughts. Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

© Codepoet Media ~ 2020 All Rights Reserved