One of the most beneficial devotional practices I've found is putting myself in the shoes of Biblical characters. It has allowed me to form an emotional connection with them. My imagination allows me, in a small way, to stand where they stood. This practice also helps me from thinking of their struggles and challenges in an abstract way. They struggled just as we do.
As I read Matthew 14:22-32, I found myself in Peter's shoes, standing on the edge of a boat. The boat was being tossed about in a tremendous storm. Jesus, who had walked on water to the boat, gave me the invitation of a lifetime in one word: Come.
And I go.
I can imagine the thrill Peter must have felt doing something impossible. I can almost hear the surprised gasps of the other disciples who watch as I walk on water in the middle of a storm. However, just as quickly as it begins, it ends. The waves catch my attention, fear sets in and I start to sink. I cry out to Jesus to save me, and He does.
Peter started out well, believing that if Jesus called him, he could walk on water. Like, Peter, Christians begin the same way, believing we can do the impossible.
We step out of our proverbial boat to approach Jesus, but then we become afraid and start to sink. We think we have faith, but in the face of the storm, fear surfaces and causes us to doubt. We find how heavy doubt can be. It causes us to drop to the bottom of the sea.
Verse 31 reads, "'You of little faith,' he said ‘why did you doubt?'" These words that Jesus spoke to Peter are still relevant to us today. They sear our hearts. Why did you doubt?
In Peter's case, the wind and the waves caused him to fear. We face frightening situations each day: lack of resources, uncertain situations and even deathly danger. These things may not be Peter's waves, but they are equally as frightening.
Doubt is a powerful force. It can make us turn from doing the impossible to sinking beneath the waves of fear. We waver, vacillating between greatness and the circumstances of life that weigh us down. Fear causes us to ask the question, "What if…?" What if the waves overtake me? What if I can't find a job? What if something unexpected happens? This question erodes our confidence and we find ourselves wishing we could climb back into the boat.
What can tip the scales? Remembering Jesus, the Son of God, has invited you to come. He is able to produce supernatural results in our natural situations.
Yes, the wind and the waves are all around you, but you're already standing on water. Don't forget that who called you out onto the water. We have the Bible's record of the fact Jesus had power to heal and deliver. He can even calm the storm. Defeating doubt means placing our confidence in Jesus and not in the power of the waves. No matter how scary your situation may be, God is greater. Don't waver.
October 27, 2009
Terri J. Haynes is a homeschool mom, wife, writer and freelance graphic artist. She holds a Masters in Theological Studies and is an adjunct professor at National Bible College and Seminary. Terri and her husband are the leaders of Joshua Generation, a ministry for young adults ages 18-35. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children. Visit her website at terrijhaynes.com.