Over the past couple of weeks I was at the doctors with Olivia 4 times. There was something wrong, and we couldn’t figure out what. She was not herself. The first time the doctor said maybe teething, the second time after she spiked a high fever out of nowhere the doctor said probably a viral infection that will run its course, and the third time (at her scheduled physical) her doctor said that he wasn’t concerned about anything that I was. Her fussiness, her fever, the rash on her leg that wouldn’t go away. But it was nothing to worry about. We trust her doctor, so if it’s not concerning to him, I shouldn’t be concerned either.
But then he said Let me tell you what I am concerned about…
I think that sometimes God would be saying something similar to me like the doctor. Let me tell you what I am not concerned about. I am not concerned about the things that you view as mountains that can’t be moved, waters that can’t be parted, and storms that can’t be calmed. Now, let me tell you what I am concerned about... your lack of faith and trust in Me. Why do you doubt?
That is how Jesus responded to Peter when Peter got scared of the wind and the waves after he had stepped out of the boat to walk on water. Why did you doubt? No encouragement that is recorded, only Jesus tackling the heart of the issue. Fear. Jesus didn’t try to talk Peter out of the fear by asking him what he was afraid of, or even bring light to Peter’s fears.
No, Jesus got right to the heart of the issue. Doubt. Fear.
I kind of wonder how Peter would have felt if he had tried to go back to the safety of the boat instead of crying out to Jesus when he was beginning to sink. I wonder if it maybe felt like his reaction to when he denied Jesus three times. Because after that happened, Jesus caught his eye as he realized what he had done, and he went outside and wept bitterly.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62
The word used here for wept is klaio (there is supposed to be a couple accents in there but I can’t figure out how to add them). It means to mourn, weep, or lament. And this word does not refer to crying silently, but instead loud wails. In other places in scripture this word is used when someone is deeply grieved. It is a word that is associated with grief and pain because of death and sometimes with a person’s sin (like with the woman who washed the feet of Jesus).
And that is how Peter responds to his denial of Jesus. With mourning and grief. These are painstaking emotions. I can imagine Peter just completely broken for his denial of the One he said he would never deny.
Peter’s denial of Jesus had to have been driven by fear. Fear of being associated with Jesus maybe. Fear of what would happen to him IF he was associated with Jesus, I don’t know. But for someone who was so close to Jesus, and saw what Peter saw in the time that he had followed Him… fear is the only explanation for the denials.
And I have to wonder if when we act out of fear instead of faith, and when we then catch Jesus’ eye and realize that we had acted out of fear, if we would have the same response that Peter did. I wonder if all of our fears, and doubts, and disbelief would bother us to the point of mourning.
Going further, should it? Really take time to consider that for a minute.
Does this pierce your heart?
Honestly, reflecting on this makes me unsettled. I want to cry even considering giving into my doubts and fears, knowing that Jesus would catch my gaze and I would be broken.
“What a waste if we get to heaven and realize all these years here could have been spent trusting God’s abundance rather than fearing He wouldn’t provide.” – Jennie Allen
Peter responded in two different ways to Jesus. Secondly, when his actions were done out of fear, he was broken. But first when he acted in the faith that called out to Jesus when fear surrounded him, that is when he walked on water.
Why do you doubt?
Where is the confidence you had when the promise was made and you stepped out in faith? Come.
Where is the confidence you had when you prayed God I’ll risk anything to follow You.? Because that was said in faith when you saw that eternal life is literally on the line.
What are you willing to risk to follow Jesus?
One of the hardest things to do is to act in faith when you are experiencing the wind and the waves.
Beautiful one, I have to share with you what my friend said to me a few weeks ago. “It would be harder to not do what God has asked you to do.” And she is right, it would be harder to go against His plan, it would be harder to turn away from that. And the Gospel accounts of what happened to Peter is proof of that.
So many times I walk and I don’t have a clue where I’m going. All I can see is maybe a few steps ahead. And really we aren’t even promised to see a few steps ahead, we are just asked to put one foot in front of the other in faith of where He leads.
Do I want to have it all figured out? Well, yes I do. Do I want to know that when He calls, I am not going to sink? Yup! But that’s not faith. Real faith isnt having security in the things that this world holds. Faith is trusting in a God who created the world, knows it all, and still says Why do you doubt? Come.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for that times that I trust more in creation, and the things of this world that make sense, than in You who created the world. I don’t want to be bitterly weeping because I am fixing my eyes on what causes fear when I can fix my eyes on You, and walk on water. I want to fear not following when You call more than I fear where the path following You leads. I want my desire to follow You to be stronger than any desire to deny who You are or where You call. I want to keep my eyes on You in faith, and not in the grief of denying You. So may my faith be stronger than my doubt, and may my trust be deeper than my fears. In Jesus name. Amen.