And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” MT 14.28-30
After Jesus fed the five thousand, he told his disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he remained behind to pray. In the middle of the night, as the disciples struggled to row against wind and waves, Jesus came to them walking on the water. Jesus assured the terrified disciples he was not a ghost then Peter asked Jesus to command him to come to him on the water.
Before we talk about Peter’s lack of faith, remember it took serious faith for him to ask Jesus to command him to come to him on the water.
Peter asked Jesus to work a miracle for him while a storm was raging. God wants us to ask him for miracles. God wants us to ask him to do things that seem impossible. He told Israel:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (PS 81:10)
In other words, if God did the “impossible” thing – bringing enslaved and powerless Israel out of Egypt; if God split the Red Sea and brought Israel through, then overwhelmed the Egyptians, then God can do anything. If God did the “impossible” miracle of saving us and giving us life when we were dead in our sins, he can do lesser things like provide for us and rescue us from evil.
When God says “Open your mouth wide” he means ask him for big things. Impossible things.
Miracles. Nothing is too hard for God. No one is too far gone for him to save. No situation is too difficult for God to turn around.
Keep asking God to save your wayward child. Keep asking him to provide when you can’t imagine how he will do it. Open your mouth wide and he will fill it.
That’s what Peter did. He asked in faith. He asked for the impossible. He asked for a miracle. And Jesus didn’t reprove him. Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, that’s ridiculous. You can’t walk on water.” Jesus said, “Ok Peter, come.” And Peter began to walk on the sea. And as long as he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, he walked on water.
But Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus, and began to look at the wind and the waves.
When he began to look more on his circumstances than on Jesus, he began to go down. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (MT 14.31)
Peter began to doubt and waver in his faith when he took his eyes off Jesus.
That is one of our biggest challenges in this life. Will we keep looking at Jesus and trusting him and his word, or will we look at our circumstances? That’s the good fight of faith. So often our circumstances look impossible. Our circumstances seem to say God is far off, or he is not loving, or he doesn’t care about us. Our circumstances look hopeless. We can’t see any way out. We can’t see any hope for that son or daughter of ours.
What makes it even more difficult is that sometimes God seems to not answer our prayers.
He sometimes allows his people to go through horrible, painful and sad things. I have not suffered the way many of my friends and family have, but I have gone through some hard things. And at those times we can be tempted to ask, “God, where are you? Where were you?” At these times it really is a fight – will we believe God’s word or will we believe our circumstances? Will we keep our eyes on Jesus or look at the wind and waves?
I’m not saying it is easy to keep our eyes on Jesus when the storms of life rage around us. And I don’t know how well I would do if I had to go through things my friends and some of my family members have been through. But I know we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. He is our only hope. And if we take our eyes off him we will surely sink beneath the wind and waves around us.
So keep fighting to look to Jesus today. Keep fighting to trust him.
If he brought you out of the land of Egypt – if he saved you from your slavery to Satan and sin – he can work lesser miracles. And he wants us to ask. He tells us to open our mouths wide. Ask for the impossible. Ask him for miracles. Nothing is too hard for him. He may not answer in our timing, and he may not answer in the way we desire. But I know this – he wants us to open our mouths wide. And he wants us to keep our eyes on him and not doubt his love and goodness and power.