Like Button

Friday, August 10, 2018

Don't Be a Peter

In Matthew's Gospel we read the famous story of Jesus walking on water (Matt 14:22-32). The 5,000 had been fed and Jesus sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee while He went to pray. A storm hit, so He decided to walk out to them. In the Mark account we learn "He intended to pass by them" (Mark 6:48), but they saw Him and thought He was a ghost. He told them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid" (Matt 14:27). Peter spoke up ... good ol' crazy Peter. He wanted proof. His version of proof? "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water" (Matt 14:28). Because obviously if it was some sort of malevolent ghost it would never want to hurt Peter, right? So Jesus told him to come out and Peter ... got out of the boat "and walked on the water" (Matt 14:29). That's right; two people in history have actually walked on water.

So, why is Peter forgotten? Why don't we think about that? Well, Peter, as it turned out, failed miserably. He was walking on the water. He was walking to see Jesus. And then, "seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink" (Matt 14:30). What happened, Peter? Peter got his eyes of the solution and looked at the problem. Peter let the storm around him become his focus rather than Christ.

We all face storms. There are political storms and economic storms. There are crimes and deaths and losses of loved ones. There are pains and sicknesses and some of the worst things we can imagine and worse. They are not fake; they are real. And while we each may face storms of different intensities, none of us escape the storms. It is part of our existence, part of our fallen world, part of this current reality.

What do we do? Typically, we "pull a Peter." We look at the storm. We question God. "Why did You let this happen?" We get distraught and afraid and angry because of the storm. We rarely, it seems, look at the solution. It is not often that we look to Jesus and walk on water.

So frequent and prevalent are these storms that we seem to spend a lot of time looking at them. They have a variety of names with a variety of effects. There are school shootings and abortions, cancers and SIDS, crime and punishment, lost jobs, broken families, divorces, sins ... all sorts of storms. And we muddle about down here trying to figure out how to calm the storms.

In his colossal failure, Peter did the one right thing he had left to do. "He cried out, 'Lord, save me!'" (Matt 14:30) The only right thing he had left to do was, as it turns out, the one right thing he should have been doing all along -- looking to Jesus. When are we going to do that? When are we going to move our concentration from the problem and look to Jesus? Jesus said to Peter, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matt 14:31) When are we going to quit doubting and count on the Solution rather than ache over the problem? As individuals and as part of our various groups, there are truly lots of storms. When are we going to stop obsessing over the storms and trust Christ?

No comments: