There are few experiences that can make you feel helpless like being subject to the forces of nature in an underpowered boat. For modern boaters there are weather and tide advisories that help caution people to the upcoming conditions. Wouldn’t it be nice if life was that way? “This is your crazy life experiences advisory. You will not want to stay home and keep the kids inside.” Life doesn’t come with many warnings. You just need to be as prepared as possible. In the case of the disciples, they were doing everything right as experienced sailors. However, they were still caught out in a storm at the mercy of the elements in the middle of the night (Matt. 14:22-33).
Jesus sent the disciples ahead to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after feeding the five thousand. He stayed to send the people off and to pray. It is interesting that Jesus, knowing of the events that were to unfold that night, sent them anyway. There are some lessons that are best learned by experience. Between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. the disciples still had not made it to the other shore. They were being “battered by the waves for the wind was contrary” (Matt. 14:24). That’s when the disciples saw Jesus coming to them walking on the water. They thought He was a ghost. Random thought—do you think Jesus was smiling knowing that as He got close to the boat the disciples were going to be afraid? Smiling or stoic, He calmed them down, assuring them of who He was (Matt. 14:27). Peter said, “If that is You, bid me to come out on the water” (Matt. 14:28). That is crazy! That is like saying “If it is You, tell me to jump out this plane without a parachute.” The conditions were such that he wouldn’t survive if it wasn’t Jesus, and they were in great peril in the boat, much less the water. So, Jesus says “Come” and “Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus” (Matt. 14:29). He was doing it! “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink” (Matt. 14:30). He did what the others wouldn’t do. The other disciples held onto what they thought was safe. Even though the evidence around them was contrary to that belief. Peter went out to the one calm place. The One that was in control. When Peter was distracted by the danger he began to sink. He cried out the Lord for salvation, “Lord save me!” (Matt. 14:30). Jesus was the only source for the salvation that Peter saw, and he continues to be that for us. “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11).
Storms of life come up unexpectedly. Many people have prepared a boat to get them through, but they haven’t prepared it with Jesus. “When Jesus got in the boat, the wind stopped” (Matt. 14:32). Is Jesus a part of your life? Have you been paying too much attention to the waves? Make a change.