When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said. (Matthew 14:26-29a)
If we recognize that the wind and waves is a normal part of life in which faith grows, what does it mean to see and desire Jesus amidst the waves?
To see Jesus means we have to be looking for Him. When the waves whip up around the disciples they are overwhelmed by their circumstances. It is no surprise that they are terrified when they see Jesus walking upon the waves. It is, of course, because they do not expect Him to be capable of such a thing, but it is secondarily because they were not looking for Him at this moment. We all have had those moments when we are startled by someone or something because we did not expect them and were not looking for them. The eyes of faith, however, are constantly on the lookout for Jesus. We have our eyes open to find Him at all times. Like Daniel’s three friends thrown into the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3), we find that even the most pressing and distressing circumstances are still those in which the Living God shows up in our midst. The eyes of faith look for and expect that Jesus will stand in unexpected places, even in the midst of the waves of our lives.
Now it is one thing to see Jesus, but another entirely to desire Jesus with fervency and boldness. I always find it surprising that people criticize Peter for faltering in this story. I find this surprising because Peter is the only bold enough to try and join Jesus outside the boat. Why do we not criticize the other disciples? Because they were doing what is deemed as normal. Peter first of all takes Jesus at His word, that it is truly Jesus—and not a ghost—upon the waves. Seeing that it is Jesus, He is risky enough to ask to join Jesus amidst this wild walk of faith.
Living faith desires Jesus so strongly that it is willing to ask boldly of Jesus and step out wildly with Jesus amidst the waves and wind. What about us? Are we looking for Jesus amidst the wind and the waves, expecting Him to show up in our lives? And when He does show up, do we desire Him so greatly that faith rises up over fear to lead us into the walk of faith?