“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
What is courage? It is the ability to do something that frightens you.
Matthew 14:22-32 tells us the remarkable story of Jesus walking on the water. His disciples were out in the boat and the wind was causing the waves to keep the boat away from land. The disciples were waiting for Jesus to show up. They knew He was coming because Jesus told them to go on ahead of him. I am guessing here, but I assume they thought he would come by boat because at that time in history, what other options were there. Anybody ever felt like this? Feeling separated from Jesus? Wondering if and when he’ll show up?
Isn’t that the bottom line of all fear? That Jesus will be absent from our lives, our situations? That He won’t find us in the storm?
Who would have ever guessed that Jesus would come walking on the water? They were all looking for him too. Verse 26 says “disciples” not disciple. Try and picture this if you can. Not only does Jesus come out to them, he defies the logic of men and says to the water and storm, Yes, you are under My feet. I have complete authority over you. But the disciples were terrified. They thought they were seeing a ghost. This story mentions many times that Jesus was walking – not running. Jesus was not anxious or threatened, not intimidated or riled. Nothing ever shakes him. He is unshakable. Jesus immediately says to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Take courage. Yes, take it! Peter took it, didn’t he? He says to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Does Jesus give Peter a pep talk? Nope – one word… Come. And Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water. Peter took courage and look where courage took him. He abandoned fear, set his eyes on Jesus and walked on the water. Amazing!
But it didn’t last long. Why? Because the enemy always challenges our courage. He wants us to be afraid.
Peter took his eyes off Jesus and the wind scared him and he started to sink. His courage was challenged. He started going under. (Anybody feel as if they are about to go under?) That’s what fear is: believing that the situation will over-take us. Peter cries, “Lord, save me!” and immediately Jesus reached out his hand and saved him. Jesus always reaches out his hand. Isn’t that ultimately who Jesus is, the mighty hand of God, reaching out to us? John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” Guess what my friends… you are his everything.
Now, this is just my own brain thinking here, but I wonder how many disciples on that boat regretted not taking courage. I wonder if they thought to themselves, “If only I’d let go of fear and taken courage I too could have walked on water.” I wonder if they talked about it all night. I mean wouldn’t you???
I hope you love this story. I hope you think about it the next time you are feeling fearful. Did I mention the wind died as soon as Jesus got in the boat? Of course it did…