A mother was watching her four-year-old child playing outside in a small plastic pool half filled with water. He was happily walking back and forth across the pool, making big splashes. Suddenly, he stopped, stepped out of the pool, and began to scoop water out of the pool with a pail.
“Why are you pouring the water out, Johnny?” the mother asked.
“’Cause my teacher said Jesus walked on water. And this water won’t work,” the boy replied. (More Holy Humor by Cal & Rose Samra)
Innocence makes us laugh. The supernatural, the storm, the command of the situation and the take away from the whole incident around Jesus walking on water was not mentioned by the little boy. Is he so different then we adults?
Actually that is the way many folks treat Jesus. They want a better life. They become confused by why they can’t snap their fingers and make it all go away by doing what Jesus did. And if it doesn’t miraculously work in the moment, they toss him away and try some other solution for their troubles and return to a life that will never satisfy their spiritual needs. There is an empty space, a hollow that only Christ can fill to make things “work out” in our lives.
The prelude to Jesus walking on water was the loud, rough wind that was blowing. It howled. It churned the sea with waves. Peter seeing Jesus, bravely began to walk to him. Then reality set in and he saw and heard that “boisterous” wind whipping around him and felt the sea drenching his flesh. Fear took over and except for Jesus reaching his hand to him, he would have drowned. Have you ever experienced those feelings?
When my husband found out he had prostrate cancer, he had all kinds of wild thoughts crowding his mind. Although he knew a lot of Bible verses, they did not override all he was experiencing. He had a decision to make about which way to attack this invader of his body. It was a perfect time for Jesus to show up and say “you’re healed.” The water didn’t work in the way we had hoped. There was no miraculous healing. He could have bailed out, but chose to believe he would be healed in God’s time and by other means.
The relentless storm lasted five months until it blew itself out; however, Jesus was present with him throughout the ordeal of the weeks of radiation therapy and the subsequent side effects lasting beyond.
Sometimes we place ourselves unknowing where the end results can be fatal. Once, when maneuvering through the mountains after dark, I rounded a curve that was sharper then I anticipated. There were cinders on the road. As I firmly pulled the wheel to prevent my going over the edge, I only had time for one name to be called out. Yeah, that name was “Jesus.” The water worked. My bumper caught a tree and propelled me back where I needed to be.
I believe we can see Jesus in the midst of our circumstances both in an instant if needed or over a progressive, long haul. The key is, we have to have him in the picture to begin with. No Jesus; no peace, no hope.
To see the miraculous, one has to be in a place where nothing else will do. As long as we can work things out our way (and how we try) why should Jesus show up?
The little boy tried to walk on water by himself, under his conditions. The object is to be where Jesus is, to partner with him, to take his hand and say “help.” As long as we are safe in our little boat of ways to make things happen, we aren’t trusting in Christ to come along side and calm our sea.
Fear was gushing from those men in the Sea of Galilee. It had all but materialized when Jesus came walking toward them. Fear wants to so grasp our attention that we forget scripture and row as fast as we can away from the answer found in Christ. Only when we are headed toward Jesus can a bridge over troubled water (couldn’t resist) be constructed.
Once we are elevated above the situation, we see such a vivid surreal scene, like floating above an emergency gurney as doctors and nurses frantically work to revive you. Wouldn’t you know it, fear jumps back into the picture and tells you there is no hope for what your eyes see. It overrides the truth of scripture and we no longer walk on the skin of the water but succumb and sink into the depths of despair.
The secret to walking on water is Jesus. Doubt wants to say there is no end to the torment of the moment. We cry out like Peter, “…Lord, save me,” (Matt. 14:30).
For that to happen, to enter into that dimension of the miraculous, we have to get out of the boat of what we know and walk toward what we have yet to learn. Believing and trusting in Jesus only grows stronger when practiced.
Have you been bailing out the water because it doesn’t work? Perhaps your self-sufficiency is blinding you or what is more the truth, fear grips you each time you try to meet Jesus on the water. The only way to move past the failings and tragedies of this life is by allowing ourselves to take his hand. After all, he created both the seen and the unseen. God is willing, are you?