But when we saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Jesus asks a very pointed question, and it is one worth asking ourselves: Why are we doubting? How can our faith still be so small after all we’ve seen Jesus do? After He’s come and rescued us from our darkness and showered His love upon us and done so many great things in our lives, how is it that we can still be afraid? How can we be so distracted by what is happening around us? How can we start to sink when we are in the presence of Jesus?
For Peter, it didn’t make sense to be able to walk on top of the waves. It defied everything Peter had ever known in his years on the sea not to be pulled under by the cold, churning water. And so often in these situations, we try to explain things and rationalize them. And to us, it seems reasonable to doubt. But that only means that we are overlooking the fact that Jesus is there. It means we are looking too much at what is happening to us or looking too much at who we are and what we would be able to do. Overanalyzing in the midst of God working a miracle causes us to lose faith and trust too much in reason.
But perhaps those are just the kinds of steps that Jesus wants us to take. He wants to bring us to those places where our complete trust is in Him, where our dependence has to be upon Him because nothing else will work in that situation. Because when we get to those places where we can’t look to what we’ve always known and understood, then we have to go by faith. And often our intentions are good and we want to trust God and rely on Him completely and we do take that first step. But being out in the middle of it suddenly causes us to doubt and brings up all those things back to the surface that tell us we can’t or that Jesus isn’t enough or He can’t come through.
But it was Jesus who had enabled Peter to step out of the boat in the first place, and He didn’t call him out onto the water to sink. And if it is Jesus who has called us out, we can’t take our eyes off of Him. We can’t depend on our own strength when it is He who has to hold us up. We can’t be looking all around wondering how something is going to work when we just simply need to trust Jesus, the one who is more able than we know and more powerful than we can comprehend. And no matter where we end up, He is always right there with us. So may we exchange our doubt for complete trust in Jesus.