Do you know what it feels like to start to drown? To feel like there is no way up and out?
You gasp for air, scanning the surface for a life-saver, a rope, a helping hand. No one is there. You feel like you are falling into an abyss that will soon suck the life out of you. The waves crash and pound over you while you hold your breath until your lungs burn and your flailing arms drop to your side. You are sinking and then… someone catches you.
For me, this week’s theme “Unsinkable” conjures up images of a Sunday School felt board displaying the story of Jesus walking on water. There is Peter, slowly sinking below the tossing waves, and there is Jesus, in a white robe walking on the surface. We all know the story found in Matthew 14: Jesus who had just had a long day feeding the five thousand, sends his disciples off across the lake in a boat while he goes up to the mountainside by himself to pray.
In the morning, Jesus goes out to the disciples, who are a “considerable distance” out on the lake. The disciples witness Jesus walking on water and panic; they think He is a ghost. Jesus assures them that He is who He is, but Peter (it’s always Peter) says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus tells him to come, so Peter gets out of the boat and walks out 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. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Peter, having grown up near water and being a fisherman, probably knew how to swim. Nevertheless, he began to sink when he saw the wind. He panicked—he probably took a couple of gulps of water and gasped for air. But Jesus was there and caught him, the Bible says (Matthew 14:22-33). Why did Peter ever doubt? I mean seriously, the disciples just witnessed Jesus turn five loaves of bread and two fish into a buffet for five thousand the day before.
Why do we ever doubt?
When I place myself in this story, I can think of plenty of times that I’ve challenged Jesus in the midst of fear-inducing winds and lonely nights, when I’ve asked Him to prove Himself to me. It feels like I am the only one “out there,” and then that sinking feeling comes while waves of doubt and fear crash around me. I get caught up in the task of saving myself, doing things on my own, rather than staying focused on Jesus.
And then He calls, “Come.” I hear Jesus tell me to keep my eyes on Him, to let Him catch me. His words, “Why did you ever doubt?” are not harsh or critical, they are a reminder of his deep love for me, that I’m worth dying for.
Why is it that my faith ever wavers, especially when I have seen and experienced wonders and miracles in my life and the lives of others? I know what it means to feel like I’m walking on water, to be completely caught up in the truth that Jesus is carrying me through every storm I encounter.
But I know I am not the first woman in our line of work who has used the phrase, “I feel like I’m drowning and I can’t catch my breath.” There have certainly been times in my life when I felt like I was sinking and unable to keep afloat. Perhaps you have too.
When burnout, isolation, broken relationships, health crises, denied entry, and other disappointments or disruptions rock your boat, there are all sorts of life preservers that offer relief, but there is only One who can catch us. For me, I’d rather walk on water than have that feeling of drowning (‘cause I’ve been there). Do I trust Jesus, even if it means taking a step of faith? Even if it means the storm may rage on?
Friends, Jesus is already on the water. In the calm and in the storm, Jesus is always, always there. I find it humbling and mind-blowing that Jesus longs for me to “walk on water” with Him, to trust Him completely, knowing that He is fully in control. It sounds wonderful, it IS wonderful. But it can also be so very hard to take that first step (even if you’ve done it a thousand other times). Having faith and walking on water, doesn’t mean ignoring or being oblivious to pain or difficulties, it means letting Jesus walk with you in the midst of it all. It means daring to be unsinkable by keeping our eyes on Him.
Have there been times in your life when you felt like you were sinking? Share how Jesus caught you.
Do you feel like you are sinking now? We are a team of women who want to be a source of encouragement for you. Let us know how we can pray for and support you.