Stepping Out in Faith

Matthew 14:22-36
Nm 12:1-13 / Ps 51

Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
(Matthew 14:27)

We are but men of little faith
Who cannot see what life’s about;
Release us from this troubled state,
Lord, take away our fears and doubt.

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat to go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After dismissing them, He went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was already a great distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night 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 cried out in fear. Jesus at once told them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter said, “Lord, if it is you,tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” He said. 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 began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” And when they boarded the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14: 22-33)

Reflection

Peter’s words, “Lord, if it is you . . .” clearly indicated that he was still in doubt when he decided to brave the dark raging waters and stepped out of the boat. True to his impetuous character, he wanted to be the first to seize this opportunity of sharing in the Lord’s miracle of walking on water, but just a sudden gust of wind was enough to topple his faith and make him sink. Jesus’ words: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” tells of His desire for us to be persevering in our faith in Him in the midst of life’s trials and adversities. Peter had the courage at first when his eyes were focused on his Master. But when the waves and the wind distracted him, he began to sink.

The boat in the story can be likened to a community or a family. Without our Lord Jesus on board, it can be tossed and turned by the waves of discordant relationships, or financial reverses, the winds of change (new job, or loss of one), or the troubled waters of pride, envy, loss of respect, or even infidelity. A couple in our brotherhood shared their turbulent past before they joined the renewal, and decided to invite Jesus Christ once again into their marriage after completing the Brotherhood’s Christian Marriage Retreat. They both agreed that for the first time in their union (after so many years) Jesus’ presence in their “love boat” had finally brought their marriage to calm, peaceful waters.

Jesus comes to us with His comforting presence to bring peace and calm to the storms in our life. All He asks of us is to walk in faith with Him, and no turbulence can overwhelm us. Fear and doubt should have no place in a believer’s heart when he steps out of his comfort zone to face life’s trials and difficulties. Instead, we must steel our faith with courage, enthusiasm, and the commitment to be true to our calling as God’s protected children in all circumstances. Without these traits, the storms in our life will appear to be stronger and larger than they really are.

Lord God, grant us Your grace if we have to take that leap of faith out of the boat into a new area of ministry. Otherwise, we may miss out on seeing Your miraculous hand at work in our life. Help us to realize that You are always present to extend a helping hand, so that we may find the courage to step out of the boat. Amen.

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