Last week my wife and kids and I went to visit our daughter, Alicia, and her husband, Josh, in Charleston, South Carolina. Josh is in the Air Force and stationed in Charleston, so we stayed with them in their new house instead of a hotel.
We didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so we went sight-seeing in the historic district along the harbor, admiring all the old houses, sail boats, and numerous items for sail in the old market that stretched for blocks. If we had been wealthy, there were plenty of things we could have bought, especially the hand-made grass baskets that were sold all over the place.
Isle of Palms was only about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying, so another thing we did that was inexpensive was go to the beach. Playing in the sand, walking along the shore, and even splashing in the water (if one dares) is free.
One day while visiting the beach I walked out into the water and just stood there…thinking…imagining. What I should have been doing was getting some sun on my pale, suburban skin, but this day thinking was enough. What I thought about is what I want to share with you today and tomorrow.
Notice in the picture how that my lily-white legs are in the water, not on top. My feet are even sinking into the sand as the waves churn the current around me. What I am not doing is walking on the water.
One of the things I thought about while standing there was how cool it would have been to be like Jesus and Peter and walk on the water. It would have been so fun to just run out onto the swelling waves and ride them up and down instead of falling into them and fighting to survive. It would have been cool to stand on top of the water and not worry about what was underneath wanting to eat my toes. Yet, I was sinking, not walking.
Looking at the waves got me to thinking about the story of Jesus and Peter in the book of Matthew…
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” – Matthew 14:24-31 NLT
Have you ever seen paintings depicting this event? I don’t think any that I have seen portrayed a true representation of what went on. Most show Jesus walking on water with no more than a few ripples on the surface. The Bible says the disciples were “terrified” because of the wind and waves (not to mention a man walking on them). What kind of seasoned fishermen would have been terrified of rippled water?
As I stood looking out at the waves I could imagine that the water the disciples were being tossed around in was heaving the boat up and down like a roller coaster. And when they saw Jesus walking toward them, where would He have been but on top of the waves? There would have been no flat, level, walking-water anywhere in sight!
Fun with Jesus
When Peter realized that Jesus was the one out their riding the waves instead of fearing them, I can’t help but think that Peter must have thought, “Dadgum! That looks like fun!” Sure walking on water when it is calm would have been cool, but calm water doesn’t possess strong winds and dangerous waves. Peter must have seen Jesus looking like a surfer in a robe without a surfboard and wanted to share in the experience. I mean, if you’ve got to go through a storm, why not ride the waves?
Do you understand the implications of what I am saying? We all face crushing storms with high winds and killer waves, but having faith in Jesus can change one’s whole perspective.
Instead of letting the fear of sinking take your breath away, step out in faith and ride the swells!
- Walking (on water) with Jesus (makingsenseofthis.wordpress.com)