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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Do You Doubt?

Matthew 14:29-31, "And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

I can't blame Peter.

I mean, after all, I lose my focus so often that sometimes I wonder if I need spiritual glasses. Let's face it. Neither you nor I are stellar examples of steadfast faith.

And we can't blame Peter for being afraid.

I've always wondered though, how many steps did Peter get before he looked down? How long did he last? How far did he walk? A step? A yard? Twenty yards?!?

Sure, he was afraid. Yes, he sank like a stone. I know, He went belly-up, so to speak. Fear gripped him, paralyzing his faith. He could just imagine tomorrow's headlines, "Peter sleeps with the fishes".

Yep, I'm aware. I've heard all the sermons.

There's no denying he did all of that . . . after he walked on water.

I'll say it again . . .

after He walked on water.

The guy walked on water!

Did you ever think about what was going through the mind of Christ?

When I look through the eyes of God incarnate, I feel a huge joy swell up within me. Here is a big fisherman who, after everyone else screams and runs for cover, has the guts to test the Master of the Storm.

"Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." "And He said, "Come!"

And Peter got out of the boat.

Peter got out of the boat.

I love this verse! He defied fear, doing what nobody else would do. He opened a door between the supernatural and the natural, showing us a reality we could not see before. He performed a miracle of faith in the middle of the worst possible moment, the worst possible scenario, the hardest proving ground in the vicinity. He succeeded where everyone else failed.

He did more with those few seconds than anyone else in history could boast of . . . and that's why I'm impressed; that's why I'm inspired; that's why I love Peter!

And that's precisely why Jesus responded the way he did.

"You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

An accusation? An indictment on Peter? If we go with the age-old consensus, then yes, Peter is the proverbial black sheep of wave walking.

But I think there's more here. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I can't see every one's point. Sure, He failed. He sank. He cried for help.

But if there's an indictment on anyone, it's on the other eleven disciples.

It's an indictment on us.

Peter's the one who got out of the boat. He's the one who had faith, small as it was! More importantly . . . he acted on it.

And Jesus acknowledges that. "You of little faith . . ."

The other disciples had none.

See, the problem wasn't Peter's faith. His faith was just fine, at first.

Three chapters away from this moment, Jesus explains. "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you."

Peter's faith was powerful! He was planting mustard plants with every step! He believed and he acted. At that moment, the impossible became the possible. At that moment, for those few seconds, someone other than the Son of God stood on water. That amazes me.

And it is here that we see Jesus' statement for what it was. "You of little faith". With this, He both acknowledges the power of what Peter's faith was, and chides him for what it became.


Because the problem wasn't his faith. It was actually working quite well for him. The problem was what happened next.

He looked at the waves, at the storm, and he listened to popular sentiment that said, "This shouldn't be happening!!!!".

And he sank.

Jesus asks him a very direct question, "Why did you doubt?".

No beating around the bush. No exasperation. Our Savior had a way of getting right to the heart of the matter, as He always does.

Why are you doubting? Where's the logic in stopping now? You were already living the miracle! You were already doing the impossible!

Why. Did. You. Doubt?

Shakespeare sums it up nicely for us . . . “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win".

Doubt's only purpose is to destroy the miracle.

Why would we allow that?

Why do you doubt?

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2009

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