24 May Walking on Water as a Lifestyle
There’s a story in the Bible that we’ve all heard. When Peter walked on the water with Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33). I want to delve into this story because there is a wealth of information that will help us through just about anything.
(This story took place immediately after Jesus fed the 5,000 with the two fish and 5 loaves of bread).
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
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?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
So we see that Jesus sent the disciples ahead to get in the boat and go across the lake and wait for him. Jesus had just finished this remarkable miracle of multiplying the fish and the loaves of bread to feed the 5,000. He also knows what he’s about to do on the water, so he went up the mountainside alone to pray and seek God.
It’s important to note that even Jesus, the Son of God, had to spend some time alone in prayer, to not only reflect on what had just happened, but also to prepare for what he’s about to do.
So the story tells us that Jesus was alone while the boys were out on the boat and there was a bad storm. The waves and wind were battering the boat and tossing them about. They were probably scared and wondering where Jesus was. Jesus didn’t show up until dawn the next morning. Why did he wait? Why did he let his friends sit all night long in a storm getting battered around?
It’s just like when Lazarus died and Jesus waited for days before coming. Why did he wait? He waited so that he could do something amazing and display the glory of God in a way that would be remembered.
So many times when we are facing the storms in our own lives, we get scared, we feel alone, we wonder what’s taking God so long to fix it. Do you know that learning to wait on God is one of the hardest lessons? We don’t always understand what He’s doing or if He’s there at all, or when He will show up. Putting our trust in someone beside ourselves is always hard.
It’s the same for the disciples right now. They spent all night in this storm. The were scared, maybe feeling sick from the waves, and exhausted because it’s hard to sleep when you are worried or fearful.
And then, just before the sun came up, they saw something coming toward them on the water and it terrified them. They didn’t know what it was. They didn’t recognize their Lord and Savior.
This happens to us, too. We are so caught up in the fear and uncertainty of the storm we are in, that we don’t even recognize that Jesus is so near. Satan uses fear against us and causes us to worry ourselves sick, feel desperate and alone and feel as if there’s nowhere to turn. He can even make us feel that God has abandoned us or forgotten about our situation.
But the more you grow in your relationship with Jesus and the closer he gets to you, he becomes more visible, more recognizable and you know that it’s him and that he has you. Instead of focusing on the problem, we learn to keep our eyes on Jesus.
When Jesus got closer and heard them cry out in fear, he immediately comforted them and said, “Don’t be afraid. Be courageous. It’s me!”
Jesus comforts and encourages us in the midst of the storm.
So Jesus approached the boat walking on the water. And this is key to the importance of this story. Peter said, ‘Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.’ Peter wanted to make sure it was Jesus. Jesus wasn’t angry that Peter questioned him. He responded and said, ‘Come.’ Jesus is there for us in our confusion, our darkness, our fear. His love for us is so incredibly deep and far reaching.
Jesus said ‘Come’ and invited Peter to step out of the boat and stand with him on the water.
This is the reason for the storms in our lives. So that we can step out of the boat and exercise our faith in God, and allow Him to demonstrate His power and His glory in our lives. If we never experienced a storm, we would never appreciate the beautiful clear days. And if we never worked our way through hard times and tough situations, we would never be able to understand the power of God to change our lives.
So Peter stepped out of the boat. The very second he stepped out of that boat and set foot on the water, he was exercising his faith in Jesus.
We all experience storms. They can come like mild rain, or they can come as several storms at once, or they can hit your life like a tsunami.
Whether it’s drug addiction or alcoholism, or divorce, or abuse, or a cheating boyfriend, or losing your job, or having a financial crisis, or your kid gets arrested, or you are diagnosed with an illness or disease, or whatever your storm may be at the time, it takes hold and becomes the focus in your life. We try many things to fix it, solve it, run from it, or stay wasted and try to ignore it, but what we need to do is hear Jesus saying ‘Come’. That beautiful invitation to trust in him is life changing.
The second we step out of the boat we are saying to Satan, “Get behind me in the name of Jesus. You are defeated!” And we are saying to Jesus, “I believe in you! I believe in your power! I believe in your ability to help me through this storm!”
When you can recognize that you are in a storm and your FIRST inclination is to stop and pray for help, then you have made a major breakthrough in your relationship with Jesus Christ and your ability to exercise your faith.
You do not have to stay in the storm, or wallow in the fear or be a slave to sorrow or desperation. You hold the keys to the kingdom that Jesus gave to you and you know, you KNOW, that Jesus is in control and that he has this.
So now that you have stepped out of the boat, you have stepped into faith and you are standing on the water with Jesus, now you have to learn to keep your eyes on him so you don’t sink back into the darkness of that storm.
You have to stay in your faith, no matter what. Believe and know that Jesus has you and he is working on it. Don’t let anyone turn your eyes away from Jesus. Keep your eyes on him on the water and do not look at the storm. This image has helped me through so many storms in my life. I’ve learned not to let the storm freak me out, but to pray and keep my eyes on Jesus and He has never let me down. Through faith, I have learned to walk on the water. Every day of my life I walk on water. It’s a practice. It’s a discipline. It’s a lifestyle.
Sometimes we forget and we, like Peter, take our eyes off of Jesus and we look down at the water and see the storm raging around us. When we are sinking and the storm is overtaking us, and we have taken our eyes off Jesus, and we forgot to pray, what do we do? We cry out to Jesus, “Lord save me!”
And scripture says that Jesus immediately reaches out his hand to Peter, takes his hand and pulls him up. Jesus will not let you drown. But sometimes he lets you sit in the storm because he wants to see if you will have the faith it takes to walk on water.
When a storm comes your way, no matter how bad, no matter how big, no matter how dark, stop and pray first. What are you going do if a storm comes? PRAY FIRST!!
Now I want to tell you about the rainbow. The rainbow has been hijacked over the years to mean something entirely different. But God very specifically placed that rainbow in the sky as a lasting promise to us that He would never again flood the earth and destroy everyone.
Now listen to this beautiful image, ‘A rainbow is a multi-colored scarf draped around the shoulders of a dying storm’. The problems you are facing, the trouble you are in, the situation that is hurting you and weighing you down, it is a dying storm. Do you see?
It will not last. Step out of the boat. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Walk on the water in faith and use the authority that God gave you through His Son Jesus Christ.
Storms end. They run their course and they die. Storms never last. Say that. Storms never last!
When you see a rainbow, I want you to remember that your storm is dying and God has hung a promise in the sky to remind you of His love and His faithfulness to see you through that storm. Just as the rainbow embraces the storm, so does God embrace you, His beloved. He is there, our clear and ever-present help in times of trouble. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Nothing can destroy you. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Nothing can rob you of your inheritance. You are a child of the living God and heirs to His eternal Kingdom.
Choose faith and walk on the water. Every day. There is power in faith. There is power in prayer. There is power in crying out ‘Lord Save Me!’
When Jesus made his triumphal ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the people were shouting Hosanna! Hosanna means ‘Save Us Now!’. So cry out Hosanna when you need to. Cry out the name of Jesus. He will reach out his hand and lift you up. He will calm your storm.
There is power in the name of Jesus and true freedom in walking on the water every day.