Life’s circumstances can be so overwhelming at times, can’t they? Some are so great that we need to step back and think things out or we will make snap decisions or say something we do not mean to say. It is then that we need to exercise our faith in the Lord as we try to figure things out.
Peter found himself in this situation. He started out well, but life’s circumstances got in the way and doubt crept in. Am I so different? Absolutely not! I have been guilty of this as well. As a result though, I have come to realize that God was right there with me and there was no need to fear. Let’s take a look at this account:
~Matthew 14:23-32 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (23) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. (24) And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (25) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. (26) But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (27) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. ( 28 ) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (29) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (30) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (31) And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. (32)
Starting Out Well
I cannot point a finger at Peter at all because I have so been there! Haven’t you? Peter saw the Lord and wanted to join Him on the water. I can just picture myself in this same scenario. Had I seen Jesus Christ walking toward me on the water during a horrible storm, I think I would have been excited to see Him there! I think I would have wanted to be right there by His side because I would have known that it was the safest place to be.
Peter was the only one willing to exercise his faith. The Scriptures do not show any of the others willing to walk on the water. With the storm still raging about him, Peter had enough faith to make that first step out onto the waters. He started out well. He had enough faith to get him started. I have heard it said that many Christians start out well but they do not end well. I surely do not want to be counted in that latter number. I want to finish well in my service for the Lord!
Peter’s faith was strong enough to make that first step onto the water. Just think about it. He was alone in this! Yes, Peter started out well. I have been in those shoes. In my early years as a new believer, I would start out in a trial and I would exercise my faith and believe that God would bring me through it.
But let’s see what happened next to Peter. The moment he saw the huge waves about him and the storm raging, he became afraid! It stands to reason that Peter could only see the waves because he took his eyes of Jesus. Had he kept his eyes focused on Jesus, the waves would not have been the center of his concentration and, therefore, seemed so terrifying. Instead Peter would have seen the joy in Jesus’ eyes because His child was trusting in Him. He would have been encouraged to continue on.
However, before we point a finger at Peter and boast of our own strength, could we actually have done any better? Have we done any better during our own trials? I know that I have failed miserably in this same area. I began my trial knowing the Lord would take care of me. However, the moment the fire was turned up a little, I took my eyes off the Lord and turned them upon my husband or a friend to help me through.
I love how this account ends. In desperation and fear, Peter cried out to Jesus and immediately Jesus rescued him (verse 31). Jesus didn’t wait for Peter to go down for the third time. Christ responded at Peter’s first cry. How many times have I waited to cry to the Father to help me? I can’t even count them all. Instead, I depended on others to comfort me during my trial when I could have gotten the perfect solace from my Heavenly Father! When we learn to turn to the Lord right away, we keep ourselves from getting discouraged because we have received His goodness and His grace.
Exercising Our Faith
God has given us these examples in Scriptures so that we may use them to teach us. As we read this beautiful depiction of man’s weakness and God’s grace, it should minister to us and teach us how to exercise our faith in God. When a trial comes our way, cry to God first. We need to allow the Lord to minister to us during our trials. God will respond but we must hear Him. Many times we allow ourselves to be distracted and we miss His still small voice; or we overlook a path that He has set before us and we choose the wrong one. However, if we listen intently – if we follow God’s direction, it builds our faith. God may use others, He may use His Word, He may use the Pastor as he preaches his message. But the bottom line is that God will respond when we cry out to Him.
How blessed we are to have such a compassionate God to serve! We are not alone in our trials. In the footprints of life, we will see God’s footprints ahead of us; or we will see His footprints beside us; and at times He will be carrying us. But we will never see our own footprints all alone. He will never give us a burden so heavy that we cannot carry it.
~Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
© Kate Plourde 2009
The picture above was taken by Carol Meyers and used here with her permission. She has traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the world and has captured so many pictures which depict peace and tranquility. Thank you, Carol, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!