read Matthew 14. My brothers and I were once visiting a family in Bermuda who lived by the sea. The tide was out. Low water stretched for miles. One of my nieces had walked a half mile out into the water, yet she was barely up to her ankles. It looked like she was walking on water. “I always knew she was special,” one of my brothers said.
I think that’s how we all walk on water. If we step out in faith – when we forgive even though we long for revenge; when we treat with kindness someone who deserves contempt – we discover that this seemingly light flimsy thing we are standing on is actually solid rock.
To walk on water, no matter what happens, we can step out onto the true Rock, which the Bible says is Jesus Christ. If we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus then, we like Peter, will stay aloft. If we look at the waves, as Peter did, we will sink.
The truth is, however, that none of us will keep our eyes on Christ all the time, no matter how hard we try. We may promise along with David: “but my eyes are toward you, O God the Lord; in you do I trust and take refuge; pour not out my life, not leave it destitute and bare.” Ps. 141:8. But no sooner has the promise left our lips, than something shiny and new walks by. Our eyes flicker away. They turn. They shut. We find ourselves in a dark places, as suffocating as if we were ten fathoms beneath the surface of the ocean deep.
It’s not just temptation that makes our eyes turn from Christ. Like Peter looking at the wind and the waves, it’s also our fears. Who comforts us when our marriages fall apart? What do we do when people we love throw us under the bus for their own shallow desires? When people promise to give someone else “anything they want,” as Herod did to a dancing girl in this chapter, even if that “anything” means sacrificing us?
Twice in this chapter, we see that God’s Son went to the loneliest places to pray. When his cousin John was murdered by Herod, Jesus went to a ‘solitary’ place. When he poured out himself for others, feeding 5,000 from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus went alone to the hills to pray.
Jesus went to the lonely places to pray, so he can meet us in the loneliest places of our hearts.
And when we feel like we are sinking, the good news is that Christ has already sunk deeper than we will ever go. He experienced on the cross all the furies of hell, so that no matter where we go or what we do – even if we “make our bed in hell” – there is no place Christ won’t come to rescue us.
My niece is special. So are we all. We are all someone for whom Christ will go anywhere to find us. He has already sacrificed everything to rescue us. He will come walking on water toward us, with “compassion” in his eyes, offering us a bread whose price we could not afford. He promises that if we eat this bread, we will be “satisfied.”
All he asks is that the moment we begin to sink, we cry out for help as Peter did. He doesn’t want us to be as like the Monty Python Black Knight, with our arms and legs being hacked off, crying out, “Tis but a scratch! …. I’ve had worse…. It’s just a flesh wound!” He wants us instead to ask for help. His answer will be: ‘of course I’ll help you. I love you. I was here all along. You just didn’t look until now.’
by Caroline Coleman in carolinecolemanbooks.com