"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down."
-Matthew 14:25-32 NIV
Over the last 15 years of intentionally following Jesus, I have learned a great lesson: the Christian life is one of walking by faith and not sight. It has taken many years to mentally make a switch from living only by what my eyes can see, ears here, or mind understand and shifting to faith in what God can do in the unseen.
Peter experienced this lesson first hand. I think the passage above can help us understand a common pattern of the Christian lifestyle so we can live by faith and avoid pitfalls of the flesh.
1. When we see things in the physical that don't make sense, our innate response is to fear. In verse 26, the disciples saw Jesus walk on water (because this is just not physically possible) and so they were terrified. Walking on water defies gravity. It's just not humanly possible, but by faith in Jesus it can become a reality. Remember if he calls you on the water, walk on it!
2. When we turn to the Lord for help, and take that leap of faith into where he is calling, we can still be tempted by the physical limitations or impossibilities and become afraid. In verse 29, Peter bravely rejected fear and that walking on water was humanly possible and stepped out onto the water. Yay! But when he saw the wind and remembered he could sink, he doubted and got scared. Take the step of faith, but also remember that more obstacles to faith might pop up, and keep the faith by keeping your eyes on Jesus and not the wind and waves.
3. No matter what our response is in our Christian walk, Jesus is always present with us and with mercy and grace helps us in our doubt, fear, and unbelief. He gently spurs us on to continue to walk by faith and not sight. In verses 31-32, Jesus stayed with Peter and the disciples and even in their doubt and unbelief, He was present and comforted them. Jesus isn't surprised when our doubts overcome us. If and when this happens, turn back to him and faith and keep going.
The good news is that living supernaturally is possible. With Jesus, nothing is impossible. We can find joy, peace and hope in trusting that what we see, hear, or experience with our senses isn't necessarily all there is.
And so to bring all this to what we are experiencing with COVID-19 remember this: We have a God that is with us in the storm. His ways are not our ways. He is calling us to look past the surface of things and walk to him out on the water in faith. He is calling us to partner with him in prayer for big bold things. He is calling us to trust Him and follow Him boldly. He's calling us to walk on water! He is calling us to be reminded that our citizenship is in Heaven and we can do all things through him who strengthens us.
No matter where you are in your faith journey, know that Jesus is with you and as you call out to him, he will help you no matter what. Get out of that boat and walk towards him in faith!
Many blessings dear sister in Christ!