There’s a reason everyone doesn’t jump out of a boat like Peter did, the fear of drowning. We fear jumping from what is comfortable and safe to something dangerous. Yes, Jesus is on the water, but we wonder if we can make it all the way to him without almost drowning. The answer is no, you can’t.
The problem is, I believe, the drowning moment is baked into the experience of following Jesus. I don’t believe anyone jumps out of the boat, walks on the water and makes it all the way to Jesus without the drowning moment. The lesson to be learned from this moment is too important not to have it and the drowning moment is where I am right now.
Think of when you go to the fair. Have you ever tried the ladder walk? Have you ever said, “How hard can that be and you had a plan worked up in your mind on how to beat it? Exactly. According to Google, there’s a trick to beating the carnival ladder walk,
“The trick to climbing carnival rope ladders is to completely ignore the “rungs” and only use the outside ropes to climb on. While applying equal pressure with your right foot and left arm, move your left foot and right arm at the same time.”
Part of the trick is ignoring the rungs, which, in our mind is almost impossible. Rungs are how you are supposed to climb a ladder, even if it’s hanging in mid-air. It’s hard to ignore tradition. There is also no “trick” to walking by faith. You can’t game the system. The drowning moment always finds you.
Peter almost drowned because he couldn’t ignore the “rungs”, the winds and waves. In any leap of faith you take, you have to be able to ignore the noise, the criticism, your surroundings and keep your eyes on Jesus.
We see Peter jump out of a boat because Peter said, “If you bid me to come”. We sense or feel the call of God do something great. We jump from a safe place and then we look around and with fear in our voice say, “What the hell did I just do?” We start to drown in doubt, fear and insecurity. No matter how brief the moment of drowning is, it feels like it’s never going to end.
When I retired from full time youth pastoring, I did so because I, like many others, thought I could beat the ladder at the fair. My cause is righteous. I have the skill set and the experience to accomplish the mission. I took pride in my few steps upon the water and looked to my own abilities. I thought I could carry myself to Jesus. We all need to be reminded that no how great our cause or how well prepared we are to accomplish it, if we take our eyes of Jesus, the drowning moment will find us.
If you find yourself in this moment, ask Jesus to save you and wait for Jesus to reach out his hand to take hold of you and ask, “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
I hope I have a good answer, but probably not.