Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31 (NIV)
The disciples are a long way from shore. A violent storm threatens to capsize and consume everyone aboard the small fishing boat as it is tossed to and fro on the swirling Sea of Galilee. An ethereal apparition appears to the distraught sailors. Fear begins to consume the motley crew until a voice commands their attention. Jesus says, "Do not be afraid. It is me."
Peter, in his usual brash and impetuous manner, says, "Lord, if it is really you then command me to come to you and walk on the water."
"All right," Jesus said. "Come along!"
Peter takes that first baby step but then starts to look at the billowing waves and choppy waters. He gets worried and takes his eyes of Jesus. That's when terror strikes. He begins to sink and feels the churning waters clutching and drawing him downward. Luckily Jesus is a mere arms length away and He reaches for Peter.
"Oh man of little faith," Jesus says to Peter. "Why on earth [or on water] did you doubt me?"
I'm thinking that how we hear these precious words of Jesus, holds insight into our own faith walk. Do we interpret these words as an angry rebuke or do we hear them as gentle encouragement from a loving parent who has seen His child walk for the first time? "Be careful my child...you are doing it. You almost made it. Now try it on your own and keep your eyes on me. Come on. You can do it. Reach for me. I am here...waiting for you."
No loving parent would ever scold their little one for attempting to walk for the first time. Instead they would encourage and be ready to catch their precious little one if they stumble. Just the same, Jesus wants us to succeed. He wants us to take that first baby step. He rejoices when we take steps of faith, even if they are small ones.
True faith begins when you take that first step. Climb out of the boat. Trust. Hold tight to Jesus.
Soon those toddling little baby steps will become strong, purposeful steps of faith as you keep your eyes on Jesus.
[Photo: Jocelyn - my sweet little 9 1/2 month old granddaughter, walked today for the first time! The steps were small but the feat of faith was great. I had a little reminder from my sweetheart granddaughter about trust today]