Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
~Matthew 14: 31
We are familiar with the story of Jesus walking on the water. And how Peter, because he lacked faith, sank when he walked out to Jesus on the water. That's the lesson we generally associate with these verses. But the first time the read the story in Matthew 14: 22-31, I got something else from it as well. Do you know what I originally thought Jesus was talking about when he asked “Why did you doubt?”
I understood why Peter doubted his ability to walk on water. To my mind, it took tremendous faith in God to just step out of the boat, let alone to find his faith sufficient to carry him ON the water. What I couldn’t understand is why Peter and the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus in the storm. “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water.”
King James: If it be thou, bid me come
New American Standard Bible: Lord if it is you, command me to come
The Amplied: Lord if it is really you, command me to come.
Revised Standard Version: Lord if it is you, bid me come
Every translation we see the question: If it is you.
If . . .
That’s what I thought Jesus was talking about when he said to Peter, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
I thought Jesus was saying. Why didn’t you recognized me in the storm? Why didn’t you call out to me “Lord save us” before I appeared. Why weren’t you looking for me when you needed me the most? That’s what I thought Jesus was saying when he said “why did you doubt?”
They knew that storms were no big deal for Jesus, because they’d seen him calm storms before. What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” They didn’t recognize Jesus in the storm. Because they weren’t looking for Him in the storm.
Jesus is always with us in the storms of life. Look for him. We’re never alone. His Spirit dwells within us, to empower us, to remind us of His presence, and to enable us to endure whatever is to come. We are never alone. Even in the tempest.
No storm lasts forever. And no storm strikes that is not known, permitted, or directed by the Lord. The storms in life never last longer than they’re supposed to. Nothing is out of His control. We may not understand His purposes, but God is on the throne. God is in control. And when it is time for the storm to end, He will stop it as suddenly as it began.
These tests of faith also have the potential to strengthen our faith. But these verses remind us that even if the test overwhelms us, and we begin to sink, we know if we call out to Him, our Lord will reach down and pull us up.
(This is an excerpt from the Wednesday Night ReCharge Message delivered 3/3/2022 at Muncie Baptist Church)
~Todd E. Creason