Last year we took an adult Bible study through the Ortberg book, If You Want to Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat. I love that book. It calls us out in faith and challenges us to NOT be one of the disciples still in the boat.
I was reading that passage in Matthew 14 again this morning and I noticed something incredibly challenging… Okay, I’m not going to lie. It was disheartening. And I’m still stinging from the rebuke.
From Ortberg’s book, I’ve been encouraged about getting out of the boat. We can’t really get on Peter’s case for getting his eyes off Jesus, at least he was out of the boat!
But Jesus didn’t give Peter credit. He rebuked him.
“You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” (Common English Bible)
“Faint-heart, what got into you?” (The Message)
“Wimp.” (Dan Thompson)
Peter didn’t say, “Hey! A little credit here! I AM out of the boat, you know!”
If he had said something like that, I’m sure the rebuke would have been even more severe. “Look, bud, you’re not five years old anymore. I’m not giving you points for being able to walk a couple of feet.”
There is a place in our walk with God where we’re not the toddler just taking a couple of steps and the world applauds.
“Oh! You prayed today! YAY for you! Look everyone! My boy prayed today! He spent a whole 30 seconds on the Lord’s Prayer! YAY!” CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
There is a time when that just isn’t going to be the response Jesus gives us. And it’s not the response he is giving me today.
Today… it’s, “Wimp. Come on. You know how to pray. You know how to trust. Where’s the faith? What got into you?”
I have stepped out of the boat, and I’ve asked my church to step out of the boat. And now the wind and waves are bothering me.
I’ve walked with Jesus long enough, I hear his strong words out of this passage. We’re not cheering for baby steps any more.
There is a scene from the 1996 Olympics I get in my mind in times like this. It’s the women’s gymnastics story where Kerri Strug was on the vault and the women’s gold medal was on the line. She had done the vault once, slipped, and her ankle was messed up. She couldn’t put weight on it. Yet, there she was, lined back up for her second attempt. Her coach, Bela Karolyi, was on the side looking intently at her, then motioning his head toward the vault, silenting commanding her, “DO THIS. We’re not five years old any more. We’re not going to kiss the boo boo and go home. You DO THIS. I believe in you and you WILL get this done.”
Almost 20 years later, I still see that scene and it still sends chills down my spine. Watch HERE.
Jesus isn’t going to always cheer us along like we’re a toddler taking three steps. There are times he’s going to catch us, look us in the eye, and say, “What in the WORLD got into you?”
Believe me, we need those times. There are spiritual battles that we face where “just showing up” isn’t enough. No more trinket trophies. You play to win or you go down.
Walk. On. Water.