Doubting in Trials

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to 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 took hold of him, saying to him, “O you 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.” (Matthew 14:28-33 ESV)

We are all like Peter. We see Jesus' miracle of salvation, and rejoice. And we get excited and hyped about being with him, and going through the trials that he calls us to. We want to walk on water like he did! We want to sacrifice all like he did, and bear up our cross like he did! Here Peter gets overwhelmed with excitement, after having confirmed that it was Jesus walking on the waves- he wants to do it too! Because He wants to know that it's Jesus, he wants to trust in his word and trust in this Messiah who is, right now, defying all the laws of nature.

So he goes, and starts walking on the the water, in the sea.

Now what does the sea represent? The chaos and disorder of the world.

In Genesis 1:1-2 we see a description of the world and how it was "void and without form" and "the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters". Here we have God hovering over the disorder and darkness. Jesus was walking in the midst of a tempest, a storm. Wave after wave, with no control- just the brute, uncontrollable force of nature that is the sea. And here is Jesus WALKING on that. Just to make clear that He is in complete control of all things.

So, Peter sees this, and says, "If it's really you Jesus, let me walk on water too". We, like Peter, ask Jesus to let us walk on the chaotic waves of brokenness. To have the power to rise above temptation, and trials- and have complete trust in Jesus, and in the Father. When we see God do great things, our faith in him quintuples. We want to go preach to the world! Go on missions to Africa and India, feed the homeless, cater to the widows, and adopt the orphans. We get fired up to do great things for God, to be holy and righteous for Him, and with good reason- since He is capable of doing the impossible! And if we are his, then WE can do the same.

So as we walk on water, believing in the power of Jesus, looking to Him in the midst of a storm, we tend to make the same mistake Peter makes.

"But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

Peter saw just how insane the situation he was walking over was- he began to doubt. And as Christians, we believe we are doubting our own abilities, but if we dig deeper, we will find the true culprit of our sinking- lack of faith in Christ.

When we become believers, Christ calls us to something supernatural: To believe in him. Our sinful hearts, by default, try to have control of the situations we are in and tell us whether we are in danger and should do everything in our power to survive. Peter saw that he was in danger. If you are in the middle of the sea, during a storm, with no boat or protection- your senses are going to scream out in fear and desperation! So he begins to lose faith in Jesus, just like we all do. If you are failing all your classes in school, if you are drowning in debt, if your relationships with people are crashing down on you- you tend to look at those things and be overwhelmed.

But here is the point, when you are so focused on the storm, you lose sight of the savior. You are giving utter devotion to the problem, but not to him who is the solution. The reason being, your belief that your situation is all-powerful and impossible to solve or to save you from- is blasphemous. No situation is so devastating that God cannot redeem. And to think this, is to call your circumstance "god". We tend to have more faith in things getting worse, because we believe the PROBLEM to be sovereign over our lives, and NOT God. "I've always struggled with pornography, I can't beat it", "I've always been in debt all my life", "I always think of myself, it's a bad habit that I can't break", "sexual sin just has too strong of a hold on me". These are the cries and wails of doubt. When we say these things, they are songs and hymns of worship to sin and to our faithlessness. Satan rejoices as we praise his works as "all-mighty " and "unconquerable".

But Peter calls out to Jesus, to him who is truly powerful. He cries out to God to save him, to not let him drown in the sea. Just like we, as our eyes are flooded with the problems we face, cry in dismay " God help us!". And he does not leave us abandoned.

Jesus went and rescued Peter, telling him that he had "little faith". Jesus was pointing to how quick Peter was to doubt him. How tiny the faith that he had in him was, after having walked on water- it had only been a minute since he was WALKING ON WATER.

Humans have short attention spans. We lose focus so quickly, and forget what we did five minutes ago. Jesus knows this, he knew it in (John 2:23-25), when the people started to believe in him but the scripture says that he did not entrust himself to them because he knew what was in man. Then, in (John 3:1-15), he goes on to speak about having to be born again in order to truly believe in Christ. Peter thought that by looking to Jesus, and he would be given power to walk the storm on his own. That he didn't need to KEEP looking, it was a "flu-shot" ordeal. Jesus shows him, that not only must he keep looking, but that as humans we WILL look away, because we our faith is small. But he is faithful, even when we are faithless, and saves us, shows us his power over the storm, and our need of Him in order to do the impossible- to live a Christian life.

The passage ends with those in the boat worshipping Jesus, which is how our trials should end. But most of the time, when God gets us through the storm, we give a sigh of relief- and that's it. No praise, no worship, no acknowledgement of the Son of God. We need to take a cue from the disciples here, and put our foreheads to the floor when God comes in "clutch" (meaning He saves us at the nick of time). Worshipping him who is worthy of all of our praise, of all of our trust, our faith, our love, our devotion.

So let us look to Christ, and not be dismayed by the thunderstorms of relationships, the tsunamis of financial strife, hurricanes of hurt, and earthquakes of tragedy. He is God, who is sovereign over all the elements of existence. And let us not forget that our ability to walk through the wreckage comes from Him, is sustained by Him, and when we fall (when, not "if") we can cry out to him in confidence. And when you are finally on the boat of peace, do not forget your redeemer, but worship and praise Him for what he has done and for who he is.