Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last Night

Last night we spent a few hours with close friends and new acquaintances. There were two sermons – the first given by one of our “preacher boys” of a decade ago, now grown into a man of God preaching to a growing congregation, getting ready to build their own church. The other was our church’s Youth Minister during the years we had those active “preacher boys,” now the pastor of a long-time established church whose members joined us for this service. It was a blessed way to end the year.

No – Beloved Husband and I did not make it with them until midnight – we did make it past our bedtime, and it was well worth the expended energy. While the messages carried so much more, let me share just a bit today from Matthew:

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. (Matthew 14:28 KJV)

No, the preacher’s message wasn’t focused on this verse – he covered 14:23-33 and had five good point regarding faith. This particular verse reminded me of a recent post about bargaining with God.

Here the disciples were afraid, thinking it was a spirit walking on the water, but Jesus told them not to fear, that it was Him. Note that Peter was uncertain – “if it be thou.”

Peter wanted confirmation, so he offered a bargain – if you are Jesus, tell me to come to you. Prove yourself to me and I’ll believe. Sound familiar? Have you heard someone explain their disbelief in God based on their not seeing God? Bargaining with God remains a bad idea.

Jesus responded to Peter’s request:

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (Matthew 14:29 KJV)

There it was – the call from Christ and the response from Peter, stepping out in faith, out of the boat onto the water, answering his Lord’s call. Then, reality sets in:

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (Matthew 14:30 KJV)

Sound familiar? We see what’s around us and cannot equate the Lord’s calling us to what we see in the world. How can we possibly do what we’ve accepted the call to do? Can’t He see what we see? Aren’t we supposed to receive good gifts, have what makes us happy, lead people to him – instead of being in a fear-filled experience beyond our ability? Jesus has seen this before:

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31 KJV)

I can answer Jesus’ question – I doubt because I know my lack of ability and have not depended totally on Him. Oh, I want to. I’ve seen people who have. I know Peter stepped out in faith – but doubt seeped into him as it still does for followers today.

My lack of faith does not lessen God’s ability. I, and many others, stop taking that one step at a time, one step after another, continuing forward. We’re Peter, seeing the boisterous world around us, becoming afraid. That’s when we need to remember Peter’s cry:

Lord, save me. (Matthew 14:30c KJV)

He will.

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