In today’s chaotic world, peace feels elusive. Life’s challenges loom big and fill us with fear. Following Jesus can feel fruitless and anxiety-producing, and we can’t help but wonder where the promised peace that passes all understanding is. That’s when I remember Peter.
John the Baptist had just been beheaded. Talk about anxiety-producing! Jesus tried to get away to process that event, but what transpired instead was the busiest day of His recorded earthly ministry. Peter was probably exhausted after spending that day with Jesus and the multitudes in the countryside. Don’t get me wrong…it was an AWESOME day as Jesus healed the sick and fed over 5000 people with minimal resources. But all that walking and talking, healing and feeding was tiring! Jesus, taking time alone to pray, sent Peter and the disciples away by boat. Being a fisherman, Peter was used to boats. But when a storm arose in the middle of the night, and the little boat could not make headway for the wind and the waves, I’m sure Peter wished he was home in bed!
Do you ever feel that way? Perhaps you are working hard for the Lord, following Him to the best of your ability, but it doesn’t seem that you are making any headway. Nothing seems to be going right. You are feeling tired and tossed around in the chaotic storms of life. And perhaps you are wondering if following Jesus is worth it.
That’s when Jesus appeared out of nowhere. In the middle of the dark and stormy night. Walking on the water. It was so unexpected that the disciples thought He was a ghost! But when they heard, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid!” they recognized His voice. Peter, ecstatic, looks to Jesus for confirmation of His presence saying, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:27-28).
Peter looked to Jesus in the midst of the chaos. When Jesus bid him come, Peter obeyed, by faith, and stepped into the stormy waves. Of course, we know the rest of the story. While He kept his eyes on Jesus, Peter supernaturally walked on water! But when he began to focus on the chaos around him, taking his eyes off the Savior, he sank. Fear sinks us every time. But Jesus reached out, lifting him back into the safety of the boat, immediately calming the storm. Peace!
This holiday season, we remember the first coming of the Prince of Peace, while looking forward to His imminent return. But while we wait, in this chaotic, sin-filled world, we need to keep our eyes, and minds, steadfastly on Him, believing that His perfect peace will keep us safe as we trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). Fear not…He has overcome the world! And He is worth it!