As I was looking through the three gospel accounts of this story, there are a lot of things that struck me.
First, the balance that Jesus kept in his life. That though he would often sacrifice his needs to meet the needs of others, he nevertheless always made time to get alone to be with his Father. If he needed to do that, how much more do we need to?
But as he was up on the mountain, he looked down and saw his disciples struggling out in the ocean. And yet, though he saw, he waited until 3 to 6 a.m. in the morning to go out to them. In the same way, sometimes, Jesus will let us go through times of struggles. It doesn’t mean he has abandoned us. He’s still watching over us. But he does allow us to go through times of testing, and I think the reason is to see just how much we trust him, even when we can’t see him. Jesus had told his disciples, “I’ll see you on the other side.” Yet how many of his disciples actually believed his words and thought they’d reach the other side when they were struggling out in the ocean?
And then Jesus goes out to them, walking on the water, and even acts as he is about to pass them by. But they see him and are terrified thinking he is a ghost. But Jesus tells them, “Hey, don’t worry, it’s me.”
Then we have the famous story of Peter going out to Jesus on the water. But as he looks at the wind of the waves, and starts to sink, so he cries, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus, in his love and grace, does so, but asks, “Oh, Peter, why did you doubt?”
But at the end of the story, we see that Peter wasn’t the only one who had a problem with doubt. For as Jesus came into the boat, immediately the wind died down, and it says in Mark that the disciples were completely amazed. Why?
For they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:52)
And that last verse is what struck me the most. They had not understood about the loaves. What didn’t they understand about the loaves? Two things.
Number one, that Jesus cared deeply for them. He cared so much that he would take care of their needs.
Number two, that Jesus had the power to take care of their needs.
As Peter walked out onto that water, he was fine until he took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at the wind and waves.
How often are we the same? We take our eyes off of Jesus, his love for us, and his power to deal with every situation, and we look only at our circumstances. As a result doubt creeps into our minds and we start to sink.
I’ve got to admit, despite all that I’ve seen God do in my life, doubt still creeps in my heart. So this is my prayer.
Lord, I’ve seen you do so much in my life. I’ve seen your goodness to me. I’ve seen your love. I’ve seen your power. Yet I still doubt, somehow. It’s so stupid, I know. Lord, increase my faith. Soften my hardened heart. And help me to truly understand about the loaves. About your love. And about your power in my life, if I’ll just trust you. In Jesus name, amen.