Half-Way Peter

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live we just had a pretty thick winter. More than I remember since my childhood, which was more than a few days ago!

A lot of “snow days” for the kids of our community, which you can imagine, they loved. A lot of snow storm warnings, and, unfortunately, a lot of accidents. So many people checking into weather and travel advisories every day to see if they could make it to work or school. But, what’s amazing is that in the midst of all these storms, my husband and I enjoyed it.

We love the wintery blanket, how peaceful the snowflakes fall, how quiet it gets. Though we dared not share our love of it on social media for the hilarious out lash we would get from our small, snow-worn community. So how can the exact same weather bring such frustration to one and such peaceful exhilaration to another?

Let’s talk about Peter; full of passion, zeal, and complete abandon, Peter. Whatever direction he was heading, he was doing it to the fullness of his being. Nothing half-way for Peter.

We see that in his defense of his commitment to Jesus even before he denied Him three times. We see it when he cut off the man’s ear to defend Jesus from being arrested. We see it again when Jesus asked him not once, but three times, if Peter loved Him. Peter was a zealous man. I like Peter. He didn’t do everything right, but neither do I, last time I checked. I love his abandon and fullness of love and commitment for Jesus and pursuit of Him. And that’s exactly what pulled him out of the boat in the middle of a storm. Nothing half-way for Peter.

You might very well know the boat story in Matthew 14, starting in verse 22. It goes something like this: The disciples are in a boat trying to cross the Sea of Galilee in the midst of a busy ministry season with Jesus. They had seen miracles, healings, provisions, lives changed at the hand of their Savior. And here they are, trying to get the hands-on done. They’re going to meet up with Jesus to continue on this ministry journey and Jesus changes it up. He comes out on the water, walking toward their boat, and checks in with the faith of His interns, we call them His disciples.

They are scared, thinking it is a ghost (they’d seen a lot of spiritual stuff), and Jesus says to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” And then Peter bites. He says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” So, Jesus says, “come.”

Peter ditches the boat, his fellow disciples, anything of security and what he knows and trusts to step out of the boat. And it says, “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” Wow!

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”

What just happened? Nothing half-way for Peter. He was walking on the water with Jesus! He was out of the boat. He had ditched all of his securities to get closer to Jesus, and now in a moment, he is beginning to sink. What happened? Perspective.

You know, I’ve been there. In the midst of a storm, and in one moment, I feel like I’m walking on water, conquering my fears, abandoning all my security blankets. I’m on top of the world.  The next moment, I feel like I’m sinking, dying. The storm is now caving in on my chest and I can’t seem to get above it. I can relate to Peter.

The other thing we have in common, we both shifted our perspective. From the Savior to the storm. Jesus didn’t calm the storm before He said “Come”. Did you notice that? He didn’t tell Peter to wait until the storm passed by to get out of the boat. And He certainly didn’t help Peter out of the boat. He just said, “Come.” That means He left it to Peter to span the distance. To choose to trust Jesus. A test of faith for the intern.

Peter was in the same waters He had just walked on! And so are we. If we really consider our world and our “storms,” we will find that they are the same situations that God considers doors to know and trust Him more.  Many times, we start out one way with our storms and then we change. Either we started out trusting God and now we think it’s going to be the end of us, or we think we are doomed, but find that sweet faith and trust in Jesus and the truth that He will never leave us or forsake us.

You see, Jesus was not intimated by the storm on that lake and He’s not intimidated by the storms in your world either. In my own opinion, I think He considers them to be building blocks of our faith. He doesn’t hide us from them, He uses them. He doesn’t get rid of them, He works in the midst of them. And He doesn’t give us a life without them, but He builds our faith with them.  Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

When we set our lives to follow Christ, to be about His business, no matter what your business may look like on the outside, He will not let the storms have the final word. I love that! So instead of seeing your challenges as storms, what if they now were known to you as building blocks? An opportunity of faith for the intern, a disciple of Christ.

By the way, Jesus didn’t let half-way Peter sink. Did you notice that too? “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Get out of the boat, learn to walk on water, and, at all cost, keep your eyes on the Savior! For that is where the Life is.

Karissa Nelson

Karissa has one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear, but on top of that talent and gift God has given her, she is a mother to three beautiful children and a helpmate to her husband, Shane. Together they raise their family and minister in Milton-Freewater, Oregon where Karissa grew up. Her passion for worship and family surround her daily. Isaiah 30:15, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Is repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'” (NIV).

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