When you are in the middle of a life-storm, what types of questions do you ask? Those questions might just determine your potential to overcome the tempest. Let's consider the question Peter asked when Jesus arrived in the middle of that storm at sea.
"Peter said to [Jesus], 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water'" (Matt. 14:28, NASB).
The Underlying Meaning
Peter began this unforgettable meeting and conversation with Jesus by asking an interesting question. He phrased it in the form of a statement, but it was really an inquiry. Peter just wanted to know one thing in the middle of this relentless storm: "Lord ... is it You?"
He didn't ask, "Lord, where have You been?"
He didn't demand, "Lord, what if this little boat breaks apart?"
He didn't think to ask, "Lord, what if we never make it to shore?"
And he didn't verbally speculate, "Lord, what if we all die?"
Instead, this impetuous companion of the Savior merely wondered, "Lord, is it really You?"
Perhaps that is the question we should all ask at the worst moment of our life's storms: "Jesus, is it You?"
I have often prayed, "Lord, when I am in a storm, give me the faith of Your buddy Peter." What is left unsaid here is the underlying meaning behind Peter's inquiry. Perhaps what Peter intended everyone in the little wooden boat to comprehend was what the nearness of Jesus offered for all of them:
"Jesus, if it's really You, that means a miracle is about to take place!"
Isn't it amazing that even in the middle of a ferocious and uncontrollable storm, Peter desired to do what Jesus was doing? He longed for the miraculous power of Jesus to be demonstrated in his own life and in his own humanity. In this instance, at least, Peter was the only one of the 12 disciples who seemed to want the "greater works" (John 14:12). He was the only one who possessed the bravado to ask for a miracle to occur. The other disciples in the weakened boat were apparently wiping their brows and taking one another's blood pressure. Perhaps they were reminding one another, "Breathe in ... breathe out ... breathe in ... breathe out."
But Peter, the man of adventure and faith, recognized this moment as the opportunity of a lifetime. He knew he could be part of a demonstrative miracle of Jesus, and so he proclaimed, in effect, "Jesus, I want what You've got!"
What you say in the midst of a trial is a revealer of your character and desires. Perhaps it will be in the worst storm of your life that your deepest desire is revealed. This storm revealed that Peter boldly desired to be like Jesus.
Not one other disciple had dared to speak a word yet. They were listening to this exchange that was taking place between Jesus, the Miracle Worker, and Peter, one of their leaders.
"And [Jesus] said, 'Come!' 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!'" (Matt. 14:29-30).
Jesus had still not calmed the storm, and yet Peter got out of the boat and began to walk across the vicious waves as he imitated the very actions of Jesus.
The modern church has often been very critical of Peter at this moment of his life because he took his eyes off of Jesus and sank in the waters. It is true that he did, indeed, take his eyes off of Jesus. But let me hasten to point out these facts to those of us who are quick to criticize him:
- Peter, the common man, walked on the water with Jesus, the Son of God, superseding the laws of nature.
- Peter, the uneducated (but opinionated) fisherman, used tempestuous waves as literal stepping-stones to reach his beloved Lord.
- Peter, the one who would deny Christ three times, accepted Jesus's invitation to "Come" to Him outside of a boat in the middle of a storm at sea!
Have you ever done that? I didn't think so.
Yet when Peter started looking at his circumstances, he saw the force of the wind, and he became frightened. It is clear that if you are more aware of your personal squall than you are of the presence and power of Jesus, like Peter, you will become overwhelmed with fear and find that you are in way over your head. What will hold you up on the rolling waves is your faith. What will keep you from drowning in the middle of your monsoon is an awareness of the one who is with you. The man who made the seas has more than enough power to calm those waters! The waves still answer to the sound of His voice. Never confuse where the absolute power lies: It lies not in the storm, but in Him.
Edited excerpt from StormProof, © 2019 by Carol McLeod, published by Whitaker House. Used with permission.
Carol McLeod is a popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats through Carol McLeod Ministries. She is the author of 10 books, including Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, StormProof and Defiant Joy. Carol hosts a daily podcast, "A Jolt of Joy!" on the Charisma Podcast Network, and a weekly podcast, "The Joy of Motherhood." Her blog, Joy for the Journey, has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women. Carol has 11 devotionals on YouVersion, writes a weekly column for ministrytoday.com and often writes for Charisma magazine. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won a Telly Award in 2005 for excellence in religious programming. Visit dev.whitakerhouse.com/stormproof/.
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