Look at Me

Matthew 14:25 – 31 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Peter. Of all the disciples, I think I can best relate to him. In a way, I think his humanness comes through in scripture, perhaps better than any of the other disciples. His strengths were massive, his weaknesses crushing. And I really, really love that guy.

And of all the stories in the Bible, this one enthralls me the most. I can almost taste the salt water on my lips, feel the wind whipping through my hair, hear the waves crashing against the boat. I can feel my heart pound in my chest as I see a figure – one who looks like Jesus – walking on the water, toward the boat! Was that a spirit?

But no, it was actually Jesus, in the flesh! And He was defying all logic, and walking on the waves as if they were stones. Peter called out to Jesus, when none of the others could find their voices. Peter climbed out of that boat, while the others stayed where they were. Peter . . . Peter had a fearless kind of faith. Jesus told him to come, and he came. He didn’t even think twice.

Now that’s the kind of faith I want to have.

But even Peter, with more faith than the others, still messed up. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, everything was fine. Sure, the storm crashed, the lightening flashed, the thunder boomed. But Peter was fine. As long as . . .

But Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, didn’t he? He got distracted by the storm. And when he did, he began to sink. The storm threatened to overtake him. The strength, the power was only his as long as he stayed focused on the Power Source.

But he looked away.

He sank.

And Jesus said, “Peter, why do you doubt? How many times do I have to tell you? Look at Me! Keep your eyes on Me!”

I am Peter. In so many ways, I am Peter. I have great moments of grand faith, when I will leap out of the boat as soon as my Lord says “Come.”

But then, the storms of my life crash. The lightening flashes, and the thunder booms, and I get distracted. And I begin to focus on everything but my Lord. I look at other people. What does she think of me? What do they say about me behind my back? I look at my circumstances. How in the world will I ever get through this? I look at my past, worry about my future, fret about this or that . . . and I sink.

When will I learn? The storms of my life are only a threat if I let them be. Though they may rage against me, they will never overtake me . . . as long as I keep my eyes on the One who can say, “Peace, be still.” My faith gives me strength when I focus on Him. As soon as I become distracted, my faith wavers. And I sink.

I’m so glad that even when I get distracted, Jesus is there. Though my faith falters, He never gives up on me. He simply holds out His hand, pulls me to Himself, and says, “Renae, how many times do I have to tell you? Look at Me! Keep your eyes on Me!”

Then He rescues me, and gives me another chance.

Just as He did for Peter.

Dear Father, Please forgive me for being easily distracted. Thank You for not giving up on me, as I learn to stay focused on You.


8 Responses to Look at Me

  1. December 2, 2008 #

    Thanks for another great reminder! Unfortunately, I know that sinking sensation well.

    By the way, I sent a couple of submissions to Jim Watkins just now. Probably too late for the fall issues, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

    Thanks for your biblical teaching here, and for all of your help and encouragement.

  2. December 3, 2008 #

    Renae, have you read Michael Card’s book /A Fragile Stone: the Emotional Life of Simon Peter/? He says about this incident (page 53):

    “But there was a deeper lesson he had to learn, and Jesus is intent on him not missing it, even as now you and I must learn it if we are to move forward as we walk through the wind storm of following Jesus. It is almost never heard in American churches. Indeed there are some congregations who would call it heresy. The lesson is that Peter needed to sink in order to take the next step of faith in Jesus. Because walking on the water does not ultimately increase our faith, only sinking does! Those who ask for miracles and receive them soon forget. But those who suffer for Christ’s sake never forget. They have their own woulnds to remind them.”

    He points out that until this incident the disciples had followed Jesus, but had not worshipped Him. Here, after Jesus rescued Peter & the two of them climbed into the boat, THEN, the 12 were amazed at Jesus & worhsipped Him.

    Card ends this chapter like this (page 56):

    Worship is the language of our new reality. But we must never forget that it always begins with a cry for help. It always begins that way. It ends when we find ourselves doing the unreal and impossible, when we discover that we, if even for a moment, have risen above the noise of the wind and the confusion of the waves. We find in the darkness a Face. We discover in the tumult a Hand. And we worship Him for it all.”

    Gives you something to think about…


  3. December 3, 2008 #

    thank you for this blog. I am continually finding others who are not afraid to say their peace! Good. It’s about time the internet was used for Good.
    God Bless you

  4. December 3, 2008 #

    Hi Pam! That sinking feeling isn’t a great feeling, is it? But read Jean’s comment . . . more there to think about.

    Jean, Thanks so much for this! I have not read that book. I’ll have to get it. Such a good point that we have to sink – mess up – in order to grow in our relationships with Him. That is when we learn how truly great He is, and where real worship begins. Again, thanks for sharing this.

    And good morning, Duchess! So great to see you here. I hope you’ll visit often!

  5. December 3, 2008 #

    Thank you, Renae, for the insightful Bible study on one of the greatest gospel stories. We will all have our stormy days, and thus the opportunity to either look to Jesus and walk on top of our storms, or take our eyes off of him and drown in our storms. But, yes, even when we do the latter, He is there. I am so glad that He is. Great job, as always! I am proud of you.

  6. December 3, 2008 #

    Thanks, Baby! <3 <3 <3 (Those are supposed to be hearts.)

  7. December 3, 2008 #

    You know what they say Renae, having faith means that sometimes you have to get out of the boat! (Actually, I’m out of the boat more than I’m in the boat)!

  8. December 3, 2008 #

    Me too, Jackie! In the boat, out of the boat, sometimes sinking, sometimes walking . . .

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