Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Matthew 14:27-29 (NLT)
During our church retreat last week, we considered the message of the book by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. There are many water-walkers mentioned in the Bible; Abraham, Moses, and Joshua to name a few. But this book focuses on the Apostle Peter and his invitation from Jesus to meet him as He walked on a raging sea in the middle of a storm. Two things caught my attention in Peter’s response, “If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” First, he wanted to make very sure that Jesus was the one issuing the invitation not a figment of his imagination. Second, he asked for direct leading or a command. This was not some foolish impulse on Peter’s part or a story of risk-taking. It is a story of obedience. Peter got out of the boat and experienced the exhilaration of water-walking with his eyes focused on the Master’s face. But what about the others in the boat? They didn’t line up behind Peter but I think I know how they felt. There have been times in my life when I hid in the depths of the boat as my circumstances whirled out of control…afraid, cowering, and unwilling to move. I am sure all of them heard Jesus but only Peter chose to obey. One thing I have learned over the years is that I don’t want to stay in the boat—I want to be a water-walker even when the sea is raging and pouring over the edge of the boat. I want the to see the face of my Lord and hear Him say, “Come, let’s go for a walk.” It may not be smooth but I look forward to a wild ride hanging on to His hand.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. Theodore Roosevelt