Posted by: mikenicholsblog | May 27, 2012

what are you looking at?

A friend shared with me yesterday that he was taking his kids to a thrill a minute amusement park on Memorial Day. He loves the thrill of dropping 200 feet in a moment’s time, or having his body twisted 360 degrees several times on a quick roller coaster ride. I quite frankly don’t share his love of dare-devil adventures. To be honest, I am a chicken. It must be my control issues, but I have never relished putting my body in harm’s way just for the thrill of it. Water skiing, sky diving, roller coasters, snow skiing and anything else that frightens me, long ago left my bucket list. Now don’t be thinking that my parents dropped me on my head as a child and created such fears. I created them on my own, and I am a chicken who is comfortable in his own skin. This morning, I read of a man, who if living today would probably love all the adventures that I shy away from.

You know the man. His name was Peter, and he tended to draw attention to himself by the radical things he said and did. The occasion of my reading was after Jesus had fed the five thousand and gone up into a mountain to pray. He had instructed his disciples to cross over a lake, and can you believe it….a storm came up. It seems they were continually being trained to trust Him. Christ eventually came to the boat walking on the water. The Matthew account of this scene gives us a picture of Peter’s radical nature.

Matthew 14:24-29 (MSG)
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come ahead.”   Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” 

Peter boldly gets to walk on water. Even though I want to live with vibrant faith, I probably wouldn’t have asked to come out onto the water. But Peter did, and wow….he got to walk on water. I wonder what I have missed in my life by staying in the boat too often. How about you? You and I will never walk on water, but by faith we can see God do what we never thought possible. I personally want to live with a faith that causes me to step beyond what I can see, and then trust Him for the results. From my experience, it’s the best way to live. We can easily ridicule Peter for many things, but courage isn’t one of them.

But then Peter did what I probably would have done. After the miracle of walking on the water to Jesus, he looked at his circumstances (waves churning beneath his feet), and started to sink. Have you ever experienced a time of living by faith, only to let your circumstances cause your faith to become fear? Why did Peter look down, and why do we let our circumstances overwhelm the courage of our faith. Peter probably never forgot the moment he went from walking on the water to sinking with doubt. And you and I have regrets that were caused by doubting the power of God to lead us.

So how do we have the courage of Peter to get out of the boat, and a faith that doesn’t let circumstances cause us to sink? My theory is: If you want to walk on water without sinking, keep your eyes firmly planted on Christ. Look away, even for just a moment and the waves of life can overwhelm you with doubt. As you start a new week, what are you looking at? If your circumstances are distracting you, refocus immediately, and let Christ’s miraculous power guide you today.

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