“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then 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, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:28-30)
When this brief episode out of the life of Jesus and the life of Peter takes place, it is surrounded by waves of challenge.
There are the waves of people (Matthew 14:20-22), who are pressing in around Jesus and those who wanted to make Him king. There are the waves of emotions (14:22-23) brought about by various pressures. The disciples felt the pressure of an extensive day of ministry, all while not fully understanding Jesus and His ministry. There are the pressures on Jesus to become king and to follow a human pathway to Messiah-ship. This is so strong that Jesus draws away with the Father in prayer. There are the real, natural waves of the natural world (14:24) embodied by the physical wind and waves that beat the boat, creating a threatening the situation.
In the midst of all these waves, it is vitally important to keep one thing in focus: the waves – the challenges we face – are a normal part of life.
So many of us are waiting for a magical “someday” when there will be no waves. We all can do this. We all have the tendency to wait for a day when everything is calm, everything is peaceful, or at least when everything feels “normal,” whatever that means. When that normal day comes, many of us say, we will do what is necessary to follow Christ or take a step of faith.
However, the very setting of the story tells us that waves are normal. The various challenges that Jesus and the disciples faced—of people and relationships, of emotions and pressures, of the natural things that happen in the physical order—these waves are the normal setting in which real faith rises up.
So, too, in our lives we need to recognize the normal waves of our life as the place where true faith is birthed and nurtured. We should not wait for some magical “someday” where suddenly all will be suddenly peaceful to grow in our faith. Someday will not come because it does not exist. We need to allow the waves to be the setting in which we take our steps of faith.