This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to follow Christ. What it means to be a true follower of Him and to follow Him to the end, no matter how bitter or painful, or long that end might be. Sometimes I find myself wishing for the end of something, sometimes the end of a lesson, a day, a week, a month, a transfer, and sometimes, regrettably, my mission.
These times are very rare, very few and far between, but in those moments I feel as though I’ve suddenly lost all courage and I don’t know where to go or what to do, or what to say, and I feel as though I’ve been tossed about in a sea of doubt and questions that I can’t find a way out of.
But when I think of faith, and the courage it takes to exercise faith, I think back to a man named Peter.
I feel that I can identify a lot with Peter. He was impulsive, didn’t really think things through, and said whatever was on his mind. He had moments when he was the most courageous of men, and others when he played the coward.
Poor Peter, every one hates on Peter, from Talmage to the sunday school teacher, to the seminary student. Peter was the apostle that couldn’t make it to Christ on the water, Peter was the one that denied the Lord’s washing of his feet, Peter fell asleep outside the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter denied Christ, Peter, Peter, Peter.
But on my mission I have gotten to know a much different Peter than the one I thought was written about in the Bible.
Peter was a humble man, a fisherman, the son of Jona, also a fisherman, but when he heard the Master’s call, he left his nets ‘straightaway’ as the record says, and followed Christ. He didn’t doubt, didn’t question, didn’t consult his father, simply followed this man that he knew was the Christ. His impulsiveness most likely fueled that initial following, to leave his wife and mother-in-law for a man that was claiming to be the Salvation of the Jews, but he had the hope that it would be more, and it was.
In Matthew 14 one of the most famous accounts in the Bible is read. Peter falling into the water, and needing to be rescued by the Lord. Most focus on the gentle rebuke that comes after Christ saves the impulsive follower, “Oh ye of little faith, wherefore, didst thou doubt?” Of course if Peter had had more faith he would have made it to the Savior without trouble, but it seems like the underlying miracle is lost in the aftermath of Peter’s initial faith.
PETER WALKED ON WATER.
I can’t remember the last time I successfully walked on water, I don’t recall anyone being able to walk on water because of their faith here and now. So why does everyone give Peter so much grief for falling into the water?
I love this story because of the courage that it took to step out of the boat. The last thing that occurs to me when I’m on a wind tossed ship in the middle of the sea is to get out and walk on the water.
I may never have the opportunity to step out of a boat and walk to the Lord, but I have stepped out a boat, a boat of comfort, home, family, school, life as I knew it, and stepped into the waves of a treacherous world that was very very foreign for me. Those waves of language barriers, difficulties with people, time, money, homesickness, all pounded against my feet and legs, and I sank many times. I called out to the Lord, “Lord, save me!” And each and every time the Lord pulled me back up, just like He did with Peter. The Lord, is right beside me, just like He was with Peter as they walked back together, ON THE WATER, to the boat and the other apostles.
I am still out on the water, of this journey, and coming back into the boat doesn’t mean I’ll never go back out onto the water again, it doesn’t mean that I’ll never have to face the uncertainty of stormy seas, but the important thing to remember is that I WALKED.
“Be still my soul, the waves and winds still know, the voice which ruled them while He dwelt below.”
I love you all!