In Peter’s mind, sinking into the waves of a stormy sea was cause enough to cry out in fear, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30).
Though Jesus graciously hoisted the dreading drenched disciple from the sea, he did not stop to console him. Instead, he sharply rebuked Peter for his faithlessness. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
The Twenty-first Century mind would tend to take the sting out of Jesus’ words. Rather, a kinder tone would be attributed when considering Peter’s stressful surroundings. His exhaustion from rowing against the storm waves in the depths of the night, and his terror at the thought that Jesus was a ghost, would be enough to justify Peter’s going down under pressure.
Faith can be expected to have predictable outcomes. The most obvious of these is trust that Jesus knows what he is doing. Here is Peter, walking on the surface of the sea, but failing to hold the thought that he is actually participating in a miracle with The Son of God.
The temptation to go easy on our brother is motivated by our complete understanding of his predicament. For we too are prone to forget that we are actually participating in a miracle with The Son of God—The church!
When congregations lose courage, they too sink. The solution is not to cry “Lord, save us;” though that may be the right call for the moment. But the real solution lies in our daily dedication to believing that we are in the very presence of God. In fact, God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us.
Thus, despite the nature of the storms that test our strength and courage in the Lord, we can stand in Jesus’ presence in his church!