Stepping Out, Do Not Doubt

Matthew 14:22-33
Acts 28:11-16,30-31 / Ps 98

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

Whenever storms may come our way,
In God’s Word let us just abide,
Though in the middle of the fray,
Let us walk calmly by His side.

Afterwards, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat to go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After doing so, He went up on the mountain by Himself 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 sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, 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 how strong the wind was, 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?” After 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 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. Before our renewal in the BCBP, I used to go through bouts of anxiety and fear about the uncertainties of the future. Negative thoughts constantly ran thru my mind: “What will happen to my children if our business doesn’t recover?” “How are we going to pay our bank loans?” “When will corruption in our government ever end?” “What if the MILF and the NPA join forces to overrun our city?” “What if anarchy finally sets in because of crime and poverty?” These dangerous thoughts gave me insomnia, and almost drove me to the edge of paranoia. Looking back now, I’ve come to realize that it was my lack of faith that made the waves and winds of these storms in my life seem larger and stronger. It was because Jesus had not yet walked in the midst of these turbulences as my Master and Savior. Now that I have taken His extended hand, I no longer have those fears, because I have surrendered my life to Jesus. I seem to have lost all my anxieties and fears. They have been replaced by feelings of joy and peace, and confidence in the future. His gift of faith has given me hope, and all the reasons to be grateful, to love and be happy.

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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