Shifting Our Eyes Back to the Lord

         When was the last time you were scared or anxious? In Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus told His disciples to get on a boat and start crossing a lake while He went up the mountain to pray. Eventually, He leaves the mountain and decides to catch up to His disciples’ boat. Matthew 14:25-26 (ESV) reads, “And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear.” It is understandable that the disciples became afraid, because who other than a ghost (or Jesus) would be walking on a lake in the middle of the night during rough seas. One can imagine Jesus chuckling to Himself as He immediately replies, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

            After hearing Jesus, the apostle Peter wanted to confirm that it was truly Him by walking on the water as well. It can be easy to focus on the fact that Peter became afraid once he was on the water with Jesus. However, Peter had an amazing amount of faith and courage. After all, would you have had such faith in the midst of rough seas and a potential ghost?

As Peter began to sink, Jesus caught him and said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31). Peter wasn’t unfaithful because he was afraid. It is because he had taken his attention off of Jesus. Matthew 14:30 explains that Peter only became afraid after he saw the wind. He chose to focus on the wind instead of our Savior.

As children of God, we can do the same thing as Peter. We can get so wrapped up in our struggle or obstacle, that our focus turns away from righteousness. The amazing thing about Peter though, is that he cried for the Lord to save Him in his iniquity. As he was sinking, he didn’t cry out for the other men (mankind), or the boat (man’s creation), to save him. Fear is another opportunity for us to be drawing nearer to God, not to puff ourselves up with the pride of being less cowardly than another. James 4:8-10 (ESV) encourages God’s children to draw ever nearer to Him regardless of present circumstances. This is because the more we humble ourselves before Him, the more He will be able to exalt us. The next time you become afraid, where will you put your focus?