Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent round to all that region and brought to him all that were sick, and besought him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well. (Matthew 14:22-36)
Does the Lord Jesus seem distant when trials or adversity come your way? It was at Jesus’ initiative that the disciples sailed across the lake, only to find themselves in a life-threatening storm. Although they were experienced fishermen, they feared for their lives. While Jesus was not with them in the boat, he, nonetheless watched for them in prayer. When he perceived their trouble, he came to them on the sea and startled them with his sudden appearance.
The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us.
That’s our faith.
The issue is that many of us, like Peter, have not made that certainty a pillar of our lives. Or relationship with God is never ending and ever transforming. But too often we put a period where God inserted a comma.
When you and I feel that we have come to the end of our rope, that nothing new can happen, today’s gospel encourages us to hope that God can move us forward. When we find ourselves alienated from our friends, because we said something that was wrong, did something that was cruel, or tried to slip by with a lie, we can find our relationships in shambles. Today’s gospel encourages us to believe that estrangement does not have to be final, that apologies work, and that humility has traction. God can heal what is broken.
When we are dismayed because of the bad decisions made by our children or our grandchildren, we say, “Things could have been so well if they had used money responsibly, if they married somebody else, if they avoided alcohol and drugs. But now they are finished. They have no future.” This gospel asks us to believe that God can still surprise us. God can still move the people we love beyond their mistakes.
When we are devastated because we have lost someone that we love in death, and the hole in our heart is so huge that we are certain we will never recover, this gospel encourages us to believe that God can still save us, still move us to a new place.
Never put a period where God has placed a comma. Our lives may have ground to a halt. But where we find ourselves is not the end. We believe in a God who can do new things and is committed to save us. Jesus can drive the demon out. Our God can move us past the painful pause and lead our lives to a blessed conclusion.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, help me to trust you always and to never doubt your presence and your power to help me. In my moments of doubt and weakness, may I cling to you as Peter did. Strengthen my faith that I may walk straight in the path you set before me, neither veering to the left nor to the right.”
Peter acts as the representative of what belonging to the church means. He knows that he is called to follow Christ. So, when he sees Jesus walking on the water, he asks permission to do the same (verse 28). Yet Peter is not a perfect disciple. When he sees the strength of the storm he doubts and begins to sink. Jesus pulls him up and uses Matthew’s gentle rebuke to failing disciples “You of little faith” Through Peter, Matthew has shown us what it is to be a disciple. We will doubt and will need to be pulled up by Jesus time and again. But we also share in the dignity and power of Jesus. When united to the risen Lord, we too can walk on water.