Over the next few blogs I want to share about a group I’ve created for pastors called ‘Water Walkers’. As I share my heart for the vision the Lord has given me, the message in it is for all willing to consider what God can do in and through each of us. This group could be for anyone and maybe I’ll expand it soon.
Why the title; Water Walkers? I’m not using the term in a derogatory manner meaning arrogance. “He’s so full of himself he thinks he can walk on water”. I’m also not using it as a superhero status, “Wow, she could walk on water if she wanted to”. It’s an analogy of what I believe; when our hearts are beating with the Lord’s, our eyes focused on Him, any of us can walk on the water and do amazing things for His kingdom.
Another reason for the imagery is because I’ve worked with far too many good men and women, who love the Lord and want to make a difference in people’s lives. Yet instead of walking on the water they’re being pulled under. Gasping for breath as the waves of ministry keep knocking them under repeatedly. They’re carrying more weight than the Lord ever asked them to, and it’s taking them down, stinging their lungs with the saltiness of human brokenness. This is not the Lord’s way. He wants us to have the faith that Peter did at the moment he got out of the boat. Please don’t tune me out, guessing my head is too far in the clouds I can’t see the world around me. I’m fully aware of the world we currently live in. My own life and family have been slapped with some of its ugliness. The pain of each trial only more convinces me of the truth of what I’m saying.
We find the account of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water toward Jesus in Matthew 14:28–31. In order to fully understand this story we need to put it into context. Backing up to verses 15–21 we read that Jesus feeds over 5,000 people with a boy’s meager lunch. The people ate their fill and the disciples still picked up 12 full baskets of left overs. Immediately following this scene the Lord tells the disciples to get in the boat and go the other side. He finished dismissing the crowd and went to commune with His father. After an intense and long day of ministry, Jesus knew they all needed to pull back and rest.
The disciples get into the boat, tired but have that afterglow of ministry about them. You know the experience after a service where you felt people were open to the work of the Holy Spirit and great things took place. You are physically and emotionally drained yet your spirit is full; your soul satisfied with all the Lord has done. I think that may have been how the disciples were feeling as they climbed aboard the boat, contemplating all they had just witnessed.
As they are crossing the sea, the winds kick up making rowing difficult. Jesus still on the other side of the sea walks out to them on top of the water. In light of all that had taken place hours before, what was the disciple’s first reaction? Great faith? Confidence? Praising the Lord for yet another miracle? No! Not recognizing Him they screamed out in terror! How quickly we can allow the ‘winds of life’ to blow away a miraculous moment with our Lord!
Our understanding and loving Jesus doesn’t rebuke them, He simple speaks to them, “it is I or I am” and reassures them it’s all okay. Then Peter does something amazing. He steps up, likely emboldened by all he’s been contemplating about this Jesus and says, “if it is really you, command me to come to you”. What? Why did Peter test the Lord in this way? If this wasn’t Jesus but an imposter, he’d likely command Peter to come just to see him drown. Why would Peter say this unless… he knew that this was his Lord! What happens next carries valuable lessons for all of us, especially those in leadership positions. Let’s pick up there next….