By Pastor Patrick Vossen
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not
afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, HE WALKED ON THE WATER, TO GO TO JESUS. BUT WHEN HE SAW THE WIND BOISTEROUS, HE WAS AFRAID; AND BEGINNING TO SINK, HE CRIED, SAYING, LORD, SAVE ME. AND IMMEDIATELY JESUS STRETCHED FORTH
HIS HAND, AND CAUGHT HIM, AND SAID UNTO HIM, OH THOU OF LITTLE FAITH, WHEREFORE DIDST THOU DOUBT? Matthew 14:26-31.
A few years ago I went to visit a friend of mine. He had just purchased an old house which the bank had foreclosed on. I met him at the front door, As I walked along the dining room floor he told me to be careful. I tried to walk carefully. It didn’t help. For as I started to gingerly walk across the floor my foot and right leg fell through the floor. Two weeks later I went to visit my friend again. He assured me
things were coming along at the house. Well, when I got there I sure didn’t see much of a difference, and I hesitated from entering. But my friend insisted that I check out the place. Trusting my friend, I
ventured forth and found that the flooring was secure. It didn’t look any different. But upon personal investigation I found out that the sub-flooring and the joists in the basement had been contributed to
greatly, giving much needed underpinning to the previously hazardous flooring.
That’s just how faith works. It might not be seen, but it sure can be felt. Moreover, that faith is contingent upon something. For the believer, that assurance is the Lord Jesus Christ. So just like that
much needed underpinning for the flooring, our faith in Jesus Christ is the support that produces our trust in His unwavering love. For the Scriptures declare: “He is the same yesterday, today and forever”, and “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will no wise cast out.” (Heb.l3:8 Jn.6:37). When you place your faith in Him it’s like a guaranteed blind trust. You can’t see how He’s handling it all, but your confidence is in His love for you. He will not reject you, and His love for you is all the security you need. How do I know this? Very simply, the cross is our token or pledge by which
the Lord has established this covenant of faith. Given the fact that it is a covenant, He is bound to act upon that covenant in good faith. God, being who He is, never breaks His promises. Therefore, our faith
is established upon the basis of His Love. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this
is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I John 5:3,4)
I believe that it is important to recognize the significance of this event in the New Testament. First, it shows us the unmistakable power of God over nature. Secondly, it impresses us with God’s ability to
hand over to His creation that mantle of power. Thirdly, it reveals to us the tremendous lesson that we can WALK ON FAITH, AND TRUST IN LOVE.
Let’s now take a look at the afore mentioned passage in Matthew’s gospel. As the story develops we find some frightened disciples, wondering what was going on. They couldn’t quite tell if it was the master or a ghost coming toward their boat. Troubled and confused, they began to fear in their hearts. It is at this point that our Lord brought brought peace to their souls by saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” He could tell from their faces and their reactions that they were in shock. However, out of the midst of this came the voice of the fisherman Peter. He bluntly asked the Lord, “Lord if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” What a statement of faith! (Some might consider it stupidity.) Yet, you have to remember that Peter was a fisherman and could definitely swim, and secondly he’d seen so often the power of the Lord’s Word in action. I wonder how many of us would have had such boldness to have believed God in such a way? Now Peter started out of the boat and recognized the fact that he as walking on the water. But, somewhere between the boat and Jesus, unbelief crept into Peter’s heart. As he heard the winds and saw the waves, his faith began to diminish.
I certainly am impressed by Peter’s initial response to God’s Word of Peace. He immediately sought an audience with Jesus. Water or no water, he wanted -to be with Jesus. Nevertheless, unbelief began to come into his reasoning capacities, and faith went out the door. How easy it is in my life to be the same way. A little while ago I felt like Peter. I had been walking on the water of faith, when into my heart began the beguiling flow of words of reasoning. I began to try to dictate to God what should be going on in our local assembly and how God could accomplish it. When out of the blue, like a lightening bolt from
heaven, I was struck in my inner man with these words: “Take your hands off My business. I will water and I will bring the increase. You sow and I will show you the season of Harvest. Do not forsake My will but yield to My Holy Spirit.” That will certainly get your attention; it certainly got mine.
The next turn of events was the fact that Peter began to sin Why? Because of his unbelief and his lack of trust in God love and faithfulness. How did the Lord respond to this? Did He act like many of us do to our fellow Christians in difficult times, and say, “Come on now just hold on a little longer. Things will work themselves out”, or “Hey, I don’t have time right now, but I’ll get back to you and will pray about it. NO! A hundred times NO! The scripture says he “immediately” stretched forth his hand. That’s the way the Lord always replies to my needs. He loves me and cares for me. He doesn’t give me a harder burden than I can bear, and He ministers to me out of a heart of love. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any perish
but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) He never intended to let Peter drown, and neither will He allow you to be swallowed up by life’s perplexing problems. Just remember to keep your
eyes focused on Christ and off you problems. However, if you do begin to fail beneath the load don’t be afraid to cry out to God. For His love will secure you where your faith seems to fail you.
Faith in God is not dependent upon outward conditions and circumstances. The Apostle Paul, with a tossing deck under his feet and the roar of the storm in his ears, declared, “I believe God.” When
others had lost hope, Paul still believed God. Moreover, years do not affect faith, When Caleb was eighty-five years of age, he said, “Give me this mountain.” Faith in God is an inner condition of the heart and
is not dependent upon outward conditions or circumstances.
A fire was raging one cold Chicago night. A three story apartment complex was engulfed in flames. With all but one little girl accounted for the fire marshal felt all right. But, out of the darkness, in a third floor apartment window, there appeared the tear drenched face of a five year old girl, With the building too dangerous to enter, they tried to coax the little girl to walk out on the ledge and jump onto a large trampoline like device on the ground, They couldn’t convince her, and time was running out. Suddenly, her father arrived on the scene and said, “There’s nothing to worry about. I’m right here. I’ll catch you.”
The little girl then walked out on the ledge and jumped perfectly onto the trampoline below, She walked out on faith, trusting in her father’s love. It preserved her life. That same simple trust in God’s perfect
love will preserve and bless your life too.
(The above information was published by THE SHEPHERD OF LOVE NEWSLETTER, February-March 1993)
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