I’m sinking!!! I’m in real trouble here!!! This is not good!!!
I don’t know exactly what was going through Peter’s mind in this moment, but I do know this, his instincts to call out to Jesus were right on. Are those your instincts? Have you brought your troubles before our Lord and Savior? Jesus rebukes Peter’s doubt as a means to push him to grow in faith and trust, but make no mistake, Peter had stepped out of that boat in faith. He was pursuing Jesus Christ. This was not a man for whom Jesus was just “fire insurance”. This was not a man for whom Jesus was present just in case he got in trouble. In the course of following Jesus, and seeking to know Him, in the course of stepping out of the boat in faith, Peter found himself in over his head. So what do you do when difficulty arises?
Ironically, Oswald Chambers says this in today’s entry: “The difficulties and trials – the casting about in our minds as to what we shall do this summer, or tomorrow, all vanish when we look to God. Rouse yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter if there are a hundred and one things that press, resolutely exclude them all and look to Him. ‘Look unto Me,’ and salvation is, the moment you look.”
Does this mean all those troubles disappear? Not usually, but there grip over our heart is broken. In light of who Jesus is and what He has done those troubles are put in proper perspective. As we look to Jesus, fixing our eyes resolutely upon Him, we see our way forward.
So what about the person who says to themselves. “I’ve not been following Jesus. I’ve not sought Him. I’m not stepping out of the boat in faith, I’ve run from Him as of late. I have considered Him only “fire insurance”. I’ve not honored Him as Lord of my life. I’ve been a failure at following Him. Surely Jesus would not be interested in rescuing me.” Is Jesus any less able to save you? Is Jesus any less willing to come to your rescue, to give you His peace? Jesus’ call is not, “Come, when you have your life together. Come, when you’ve proved you love me.” Indeed Jesus wants more of you than just a nominal commitment. Indeed Jesus desires your whole hearted devotion, just like Peter in this instance. What I love about this passage is it’s Peter. Peter! The man who denies Jesus. The man who later in his life fails in an epic way. After Peter’s failure, Jesus still says, “Follow me”. Peter is a man who in the midst of failure, in the midst of trouble, looks to Jesus. My admonition to us today, is “Look to Jesus and be rescued.”
Matthew 14:13 and 23
How does Jesus deal with difficulty. In verse 13 we read, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.” Heard what? What was it that caused Jesus to withdraw? In looking back we find that Jesus had just heard that his dear friend, John the Baptist had been slaughtered (beheaded) by Herod. Jesus withdraws in grief. He must have been deeply filled with sorrow over this loss. So what did he do when he withdrew? The rest of verse 13 reads, “But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.”
How would you react to the crowds? If it were me, I’d probably lose it and say, “C’mon can’t I get a little time alone here to grieve!! For crying out loud, leave me alone.” Let’s just say my reaction would not likely be godly. How about Jesus. In verse 14 we read, “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” As we read on we find not only that he healed them, but he fed them too, all 5000 plus.
After what must have been an exhausting day of work, physically and emotionally, as he continued to mourn the loss of John the Baptist, he slept right? He flopped onto his couch to relax with some mind-numbing and funny movie right? No, he found a desolate place, a place to be alone. What did he do when he was alone? What did he do to find solace and peace? What did he do to rejuvenate and refresh? “He went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” (verse 23) I’m reminded this morning. I’m convicted this morning. Where do I seek refreshment all to often? Where do I seek solace and peace? Sadly it’s not prayer. It’s not fellowship with my Heavenly Father.
Thank you Jesus for the reminders this morning about faith and life. Thank you that you are an ever present help in times of trouble. You are our refuge. I pray that I would seek you first. I pray that I would be quick to call out, “Lord, save me”, rather than to attempt to live in my own strength. I pray that I would seek your presence in prayer, not just when I need help, but as a means of abiding and living faithfully moment by moment throughout this day. In Christ’s name. Amen.