Each of us is Peter at some point in our lives. We all face the choice to take the next step…overcoming fear and surrendering to faith. But it’s not so simple, is it?
Matthew 14:28-29 – “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to step out and come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, stepped on the water and came toward Jesus.”
What was Peter thinking?
What do you think Peter was thinking? Did he genuinely expect the ghostly figure gliding across the waves to be Jesus? Perhaps his expression of a desire to join in the miracle was saturated with sarcasm? Even if Peter believed what he saw was Jesus, maybe he didn’t expect Jesus actually to call him onto the water.
Peter was human, and from what we gather, perhaps the most human of the disciples. He was also the most impulsive. So, what caused him to pause at this moment? Why did he ask Jesus instead of jumping on in on the good faith that Jesus certainly wouldn’t let one of his inner circle sink to a perilous death?
Take the Next Step Daily
Everything standing between Peter and the ultimate purposes of his life stood in that gap between the boat and the water. Peter had been obeying God by traveling across the lake with the disciples. However, Jesus knew he was destined for more. Peter had future callings that would require defiance of logic, extraordinary boldness, and the ultimate personal sacrifice. At this moment, Jesus extended an opportunity to step into those purposes and leave the safe route behind.
Over the course of my life, and specifically my married life, God has used these questions and revelations to form a personal life statement: Take the Next Step.
If I were Peter, and assuming I fully understood that the figure walking across the water was Jesus, what would cause me to pause? There I stand, the lip of the boat nudging against the rim of the water. My eternal assignments and purposes and the ultimate exercise of my will and faith culminate in the minuscule gap between the lip of the boat and the rim of the water.
Many of us desire in the depths of our hearts to jump on in. In reality, we stand paralyzed in the boat. The gap seems too large, the water too unsteady. We choose to settle and never seek the fullness of our promised life.
We all stand at the edge of the boat. Will we take the next step?
Shrinking the Gap
If we are not careful, we can allow issues in our lives to assume such an influencing presence that the gap between the perpetual boat and the water stretches beyond recovery. These issues cause the gap to widen and our eagerness to follow Jesus’ voice to weaken. Some of these include finances (either lack or plenty), insecurity, poor past decisions, unholy relationships, greed, pride, fear, a desire for comfort, and more.
As I’ve journeyed with Jesus, I’ve grown to ask him daily to shrink the gap. The gap between where I stand and where He is calling me to step. Dealing with my insecurity, finding forgiveness for past failings, and ensuring my finances are healthy are disciplines that aid in keeping the boat seamlessly anchored against the waves.
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When I hear Jesus’ voice, my goal is to stand confident and equipped to respond, “Yes, Lord, I’m coming.”
Shrinking the gaps in our lives is hard work and can take a lifetime. Jesus always stands ready for us to join Him on the water.