One of my favorite memories is enjoying the hot summer sun riding swiftly down the river banks in a speedboat. My family has enjoyed quite a few river trips with friends and I absolutely love the sights and sounds of my kids playing and splashing in the refreshing river water. Standing on the edge of the boat with a rainfall of sweat pouring down my body, taking a plunge into the fresh cool water is a refreshing moment in the hot river sun.
I remember one instance at the river where we passed along a 20 ft. high platform and my kids were yearning to jump. No fear entered their adventurous minds! Mama however, a different story! Why is it that children can easily take the plunge into the water, but as we get older, we stand, pause and contemplate our jump? I don’t seem to have the courage to jump that I once had.
Perhaps life experiences have caused fear and doubt to grip my once courageous heart!
This visual of jumping into deep water reminds me of the story about Peter’s encounter with Jesus walking on water. After Jesus escaped from the noise of life to pray on the mountainside, He realized His disciple’s boat had drifted into the sea. He desired to be with them so Jesus in His supernatural spirit didn’t swim out to the boat, he walked on water.
The disciples were terrified of this occurrence—they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus answers them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27 (NASB)
Peter was the brave one of the bunch. Without hesitation, Peter takes the plunge and jumps at Jesus’s request, “come.”
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord save me!’” Matthew 14:30 (NIV)
Peter presumably took his eyes off Jesus to observe and notice the surrounding wind. In this moment, he began to sink.
It amazes me how Peter at first was not afraid to jump! He was confident in the Lord’s calling. He was excited to meet his savior on the water. But when he chose to look at something other than Jesus, fear overcame him.
I relate to Peter. In life and ministry, I see opportunity and plunge right in. My natural adventurous and pioneering spirit overrides my fear. But once I’m in the water and look down at its murkiness, or I see a ravaging wind ahead, fear grips my spirit. In this moment, I take my eyes off the source (Jesus) who provides me the courage to “walk on water.”
In Matthew 14:31, Jesus teaches his disciples to be confident in their faith in Him. He calls Peter out:
“You of little faith, why did you doubt me.”
Do we lack the confidence of Jesus in the water ready to take our hand and walk with us on the water?
I desire an “oceans” kind of faith. I want to walk upon the waters without borders. I desire the radical faith I see in others who take the plunge, fix their eyes on Jesus, and live a courageous faith! I don’t want to hear Jesus’ words, “you of little faith.” I’m sure you don’t either!
Is your faith gripped by fear and doubt? My challenge for you is to be fearless, act on something that causes you to be afraid. Take the plunge, step out of your secure boat, and remain focused on looking up (at Jesus), instead of looking down (at self).