“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.“ “Come,” Jesus said. (Matt 14:28-29)
My wife Namiko and I try to take time for a regular retreat with the Lord. On the first day of 2016, we managed to go somewhere quiet (it was on a beach). We counted our blessings for 2015 (the list is always much longer than we think!), and wondered what lies ahead for us. We committed ourselves and our loved ones to the Lord.
During our retreat we were led to read the gospel account of Peter walking on the water (Matt 14). It records how Jesus came to his disciples in the middle of a growing storm on the sea of Galilee. The men’s unease at their precarious situation was made worse by a ghostly apparition on the water. When the figure identified himself as Jesus and sought to assure them, Peter did something unexpected. He neither begged to be delivered from danger nor dictated a particular miraculous sign. He just asked the “ghost”, if it was indeed Jesus, to tell him to come to him on the water.
Admittedly this made me ponder for a long while.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that Peter was hopeful that the figure was indeed his beloved Lord and friend Jesus. He was expressing his longing to be with Jesus. How this request must have warmed our Lord’s heart! I believe that He must have had a delighted smile on His face when He said that one word to Peter: “Come”!
The same gospel passage records that in the midst of Peter’s uncertainty and fear, he heard Jesus speak, and responded by clambering over the side of the unstable boat. Keeping his eyes on Jesus, he began to walk towards him on the surface of the lake. When he floundered moments later, he experienced the gracious help of (and probably a good laugh with) His Master.
Last year I saw a tweet from the pastor and author Rick Warren: “God is more interested in growing your faith than in relieving your fear”. I suppose that this was precisely what lay behind the special, personal encounter between Jesus and Peter that fateful day. I do think that the other disciples who were part of it were much encouraged too. Evidently when Jesus is around, even the smallest sincere squeak of faith can lead to a mind-blowing adventure.
This story has awakened my imagination once more to the Great Adventure that the Author of Life is scripting for me, the most unworthy and faithless of his followers. Indeed, it seems that the life of a Christ-seeker has a greater resemblance to a storm-tossed adventure story than a fairy-tale romance.
I am humbled and excited that such new horizons are not reserved only for the super-spiritual.
I may be an average Joe but I do not believe that I am called to be mediocre in exercising my faith and getting to know God. He is a God who does wondrous things daily. Hallelujah!
Dear friends, as we go into the new year, know that there is an adventure of faith waiting for each of you. God is ready. Seek Him, and He will beckon you with a smile, “It is I. Do not be afraid”. As you hear Him say “come”, and climb out of your boat to go to Him, there will be a new and unforgettable encounter waiting for you. I look forward to reading many of your testimonies next year, if not sooner! Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
By Aaron Lee, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 9&10 January 2016)