30 "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me.'"
Matthew 14:30 (ESV)
Getting knocked off course happens all the time in our lives. It can be as simple as getting sidetracked with roommate shenanigans when you should be studying, as concerning as a string of poor performances or games that make you question your ability, or as serious as losing a friend or loved one that completely rocks your world.
In the best case scenario, the distraction is brief and we get right back on track. In the worst case, and probably too often, we start questioning God, wondering if He cares, and doubting His abilities.
Both distraction and doubt overcame Peter in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Who could blame him? Wicked wind was blowing, it was the middle of the night, and there was nothing between his feet and the water!
But Jesus did blame him (Matthew 14:31). Let’s examine two reasons why Jesus may have found fault in Peter that could help us when we doubt or get distracted:
- FOCUS - Peter "saw the wind." Even though Jesus was close enough to touch (v31), Peter instead focused on his other surroundings. He let external circumstance dictate his mindset which, in us, leads to similar feelings of panic, anxiety, and fear!
When first learning to shoot layups, I was taught "the ball goes where your eyes go," so I stared at the top corner of the square on the backboard to ensure a make. Similarly, my thoughts and affections go where my focus goes.
If I focus on the world, myself or circumstances, I become worried, doubtful and unsatisfied.
If I focus on Jesus, I am more likely to be at ease, experience joy and find rest (Matthew 11:28). I see He sympathizes with me (Hebrews 4:15), promises to always be with me (Matthew 28:20), and that nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38,39). Jesus deserves my constant focus!
- REMEMBRANCE - Peter was walking on water by Jesus’ command! It was dark and the wind howled when he first stepped out of the boat; the conditions didn't change. Peter allowed current circumstances to cloud his memory and forgot the miraculous work Jesus was actively performing in his life.
We are called to "remember the deeds of the Lord" (Psalm 77:11). They remind us of His goodness, love, mercy, forgiveness, and power!
We are to remember not only the great and mighty things He has done in the Bible, but also the countless blessings in our very own lives: family, friends, athletic talents, able bodies, technology, education, life, and above all, a Savior for our souls who forgives and cleanses us, makes us "holy, blameless, and above reproach" before God (Colossians 1:21,22), and secures everlasting hope for us (1 Peter 1:3,4).
Reflect: How is your focus? Do you need to be re-calibrated back to God, His Word, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? How is your memory? Are you remembering God's love and Jesus' sacrifice for you?