“At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus”.
The Gospel reading from Matthew’s gospel (chapter 14) constantly strikes me as a call for courage and faith. I can only imagine that the others in the boat with Peter were amazed at his courage. At the moment they may have thought it was foolishness and more than a little crazy. Looking back though, it took great courage and great faith to get out of the boat and walk.
When reading this passage over the years, I often focused on Jesus walking on the water. It spoke of His Lordship, His power, His dominion over all of creation. Years ago, I was meditating on this passage and came to another “life changing” reflection. I’m really not surprised that Jesus was walking on the water – I’m in awe that Peter walked on the water. Wow! Disciples of Christ are called to exercise their faith with great courage. They are called to keep their eyes on Jesus during the storms of life and find they indeed have the strength to get through … to walk on the water!
I often think of the many people who have witnessed that faith and courage to me on a daily basis. They have stepped out of their boats stricken by sheer desperation in the storms of their lives and just walked toward the Master.
I think of a woman who pregnant with her third child, discovers the baby in her womb will be born with Downs Syndrome and a heart condition. With great faith she has embraced this storm and walks on the water of courage and faith every day to love, nurture and care for this “precious one”. I think of a man, happily married for over 20 years with 5 children under 16 years of age. He comes home from a family activity to discover his beloved bride on the floor of their kitchen unconscious after having a stroke. She is now a shell of the woman he once knew. His storm rages and he cares for his bride and the children they birthed with courage and faith. He loves like no man I know. His children experience it, his wife feels it, we all get the privilege to see it.
I am inspired by the many “Peters” who cross my path on a daily basis. Men, women and children who witness to me the power of exercised faith that overcomes despair. The power of the gift of courage to face the unimaginable and not retreat into fear. They challenge me, during the storms of my life, to stand up, step out of the boat and walk towards Jesus.
Who has inspired you with this kind of courage and faith? Who has modeled Peter’s bold action and walked on the water? I would like to hear your stories. I invite you to share them. Post them. Proclaim them. So that all of us might be inspired to “walk on the water”.