Cassandra Spicer – CLI Student Ministries Intern
One of my favorite stories in the New Testament is the story of Peter walking on the water. In this story (found in Matthew 14:22-33) Jesus sends the disciples in a boat to cross to the other side while He stays back a while to pray in solitude. While they are floating along the wind and waves pick up a little. The next thing they notice is someone walking on the water near the boat. The disciples are instantly frightened because they think it is a ghost. Jesus assures them to have peace of heart because it’s just Him, you know, no big deal that their teacher is walking on the water. Now for the part of the story we all know, Peter asks that if it is really truly Jesus, for Him to ask Peter to come out onto the water with Him. Jesus says, “Come.” Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water out to Jesus, and then begins to sink when he realizes the hugeness of the waves around him. Jesus rescues him and they join the disciples back in the boat.
What I love about this story, besides the fact that Peter walks on the water, is that it shows me a great picture of the comfort zone in my life. Many of the disciples are fishermen, so a trip across the water, even in the wind and waves, was completely in their comfort zone. As soon as they see Jesus outside of the boat on top of the water, they began to fear. I wish I could know exactly why Jesus was walking on the water. Did He wish for all of the disciples to step out of the boat? Would He have walked all the way to the other side or did He intend to climb into the boat (like He ended up doing with Peter)? Whatever Jesus’ reasons were for this miracle, I believe it showed the disciples to always expect the unexpected from Him.
Jesus calls Peter out of the boat, out of his comfort zone. The adventure in life was outside of the boat. The adventure was walking along side of Jesus on top of the crazy waves.
When Jesus gets back into the boat with the disciples they all exclaim in verse 33, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Even inside the comfort zone their hearts have a great truth revealed to them. But imagine Peter, he has had an even greater truth revealed to him because he stepped out into adventure. He walked on the water, he expressed his faith, saw a shortcoming in his faith, experienced the safety in Christ, and knew that something was different about this Jesus guy. The other disciples, because they didn’t step out of the boat, only witnessed that Christ could walk on the water. They didn’t get to experience a personal adventure and revelation in the same way as Peter did.
This story constantly challenges me to really think about my relationship with Christ. Am I willing to step outside of my comfort zone when I’m called to “come”? I believe that Christ can reveal great truths to me in my comfort zone, just like the disciples in the boat, but am I okay with that? Wouldn’t I rather step outside of my comfort zone into the great unknown where my feet may fail me to experience something new about myself and about the God I serve? It may only take one act of faith and obedience to step outside of the boat for even a few minutes to have a new revelation about myself, my ministry, and God that will make life in my comfort zone very different. Remember, Jesus got in the boat with them, but that doesn’t mean the boat (faith, life, relationship with Christ) was ever the same again for Peter. Adventure changes the perspective on life.
Kevin Ache, our new Young Adults Pastor, posted a picture of a quote a while ago. I’m not sure if he stole it from someone else or if it was original to him, but it resonated with me so I’ll give Kevin the credit. He says:
“Many of the adventures you will go on will not make sense to other people because the outcome is unknown. But the journeys where the outcome is already known are not adventures, they’re errands. And you were created to do more than run errands.”
I bet we can guarantee that Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water didn’t make sense to the disciples. The other eleven were perfectly fine accomplishing the goal of getting to the other shoreline that they didn’t want to step out of the boat. I often think of our daily routines. You might have yet another day of getting up, getting ready for work, getting the kids dressed and out the door. Normal routine stuff. God’s call on our lives can come with a bit of routine that can become our comfort zone, but we are created to do more than just our “errands” of the day. God is there walking on the water, calling us to come out to Him, to experience something new, to gain a fresh perspective.
Adventure may be scary and it might involve some wind and waves, but it also involves meeting Jesus in a brand new way. Will you allow Christ to speak peace into your heart as He reaches His hand out to you while challenging you to come? Or do you remain in the boat doing what you’ve always done?
I encourage you to take the next step, step outside of the boat and see what adventure God takes you on!