Water Walking… is it worth the risk?

It’s before crack of dawn early and I sit on the deck watching stars twinkle. The air feels pregnant as it quietly waits to birth a new day. A lone spider silently spins. The distant howl of a coyote calls, and I wonder, Did I really mean what I said? 

Because now  the middle one is miles away, and I am second guessing myself. Did I encourage in the right direction? What if I was wrong? It would have been safer to keep him close to home.

As silent questions float upward, I’m reminded of Peter drifting with the others in the dark before dawn. Waves knock hard against the boat’s side when something catches his attention. Is my mind playing tricks on me? It must be a ghost because flesh and bone can’t walk on water. Hey guys, are you seeing what I’m seeing? Fear rises to terror among the twelve and all the while Peter watches and waits.

In my mind it was a split second decision. Not much time to really think it through.

Lord, if it’s you. Tell me to come to you on the water.

Matthew 14:28, ESV

Jesus calls out yes and without a second guess Peter climbs over the side and does the physically impossible. Who does that? What rational human being leaves the safety of a boat to do what can’t be done?

I imagine the eleven watching to see what might happen. Has he lost his mind? The water’s too rough, too dangerous. If he makes it to Jesus, I’m going next. He should have thought this through a bit more. I don’t care who walks on water I’m not leaving this boat. 

Twelve men were in the boat. Only one was willing to step out and try the impossible. Only one was willing to take the risk. Only one experienced water walking.

Wait. Isn’t this supposed to be a story about losing focus? About the way we sink deep when we take our eyes off the Savior? Yes. Yes. and yes.

Some may focus on a man who failed. Others may see the the wisdom of staying safe in the boat. But for me, in this moment, I see courage. I see faith. I see a man taking a risk, sinking deep, cry for help, a hand reaching down, the joining of fingers, and saving grace.

Peter experienced Jesus in a way only the walking and sinking could provide.  I wonder if years later, when the church leading got tough, if he remembered it? If when he felt cool water touch his feet, he smiled. Maybe the memory of clutching tight to the Savior’s hand was all he needed to keep going when waters were rough.

Light creeps slow through the tree above my chair. The whip-poor-will sings out his final song. And I breath deep, yes. Yes, I really did mean what I said.

IMG_8070Take the risk. If you fail… then you fail.  Get out of the boat, get your feet wet, take a few steps, sink deep, cry out for help. He’ll be there. You’ll see. He’ll be there. 


When you think about it, Jesus being there is the whole point. God only knows what it will take for you to cling tight to the notion all success and failure are meant to move us to this point.

Oh friends, let me ask you. Is God calling you take a risk? Is the Spirit stirring you to something new, different, far from your comfort zone?

He’ll not leave you nor forsake you. He’ll not hold your failure against you nor shame you when you don’t get it all right. All the future you need to know is wrapped in this truth. He’ll be there to reach out and save you.

He’ll be there… you’ll see. He. Will. Be. There.

Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
–Matthew 14:31-32, The Message


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