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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Be like Peter

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We’re halfway through the final month of the first quarter of 2020 and I have a question for you: When was the last time you read Peter’s story of walking on water found in Matthew 14:22-29? If there was no other time this biblical account of courage, faith and knowing God is with you, the time is now.

We are well aware that time is filled with swift transition. As such, we are responsible for making the most and best of every minute. We are also responsible for utilizing every gift, skill and talent. Burying them out of fear like the man in Matthew 25:24-30 who only received one talent is not the move. How dare we expect more from God if we aren’t properly handling what we’ve already been given. The nerve of us! 

When we look at Peter’s walk on the water, we see transformation right before our very eyes. Here’s some background before the transformation takes place — Jesus had just fed 5,000 men. Don’t panic. The women and children were fed too. The Bible doesn’t record a number but you’re free to use your imagination. Afterward, Jesus sent the disciples ahead in the boat. Once the crowds left, Jesus engaged in self-care through prayer and time to Himself. 

While Jesus is enjoying self-care, the disciples are tossed by storm waves and winds. Before dawn, Jesus went to them. As Jesus approached them, the Contemporary English Version says in verse 26 they thought Jesus was a ghost, were terrified and started screaming (paraphrased). Jesus encouraged them not to be afraid. Here is where Peter’s transformation begins, as he took being fearless to another level. No sooner than Jesus spoke those words, verse 28 in the Message Bible says “Suddenly bold, Peter spoke these words “Master, if it’s really You, call me to You on the water” (paraphrased). Jesus didn’t hesitate to call. Peter didn’t hesitate to go. 

Just a few verses prior, Peter was afraid, screaming and rocked by the storm. You better believe the disciples did one of two things, if not both, when Peter activated his boldness. They either stared in oh-my-goodness-what’s-he-doing awe or gave “advice” as to why he shouldn’t go. Meanwhile Peter’s left leg was already out of the boat and his right was soon to follow. 

Follow Peter’s lead! Get out of the boat of waiting on someone to do it for you. Get out of the boat of whining because others are doing and being but you haven’t moved yet for whatever reasons you’ve deemed valid. 

Be suddenly bold like Peter and go. You have nothing to lose. Jesus is literally right there with you. Forget about naysayers in the background. Forget about the fear you had just moments before. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us the mercies of the Lord are new every morning. I say the mercies of the Lord are new every moment. Therefore, fear in the moment before has nothing to do with faith in the moment of now! 

Granted Peter only started to walk on water, before his thoughts changed his reality. At least he started. We know that’s better than what can be said for some of us. Yet don’t be discouraged because it’s not too late. There’s still some time. There’s still a chance. Take it. Be suddenly bold. Let that boldness last from start to finish. Get to the other side of that dream and make it a reality. Get to the other side of that vision and bring it to fruition. Get on the other side of that hope and fulfill it.

Rae Karim, formerly chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary, is now pastor at First Christian Church of Honolulu. She can be reached at pastoraefcc@gmail.com. 

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