When I was in college I had a friend named Chad Simington who shared with me the following true story. One night, after Chad had experienced a great time in prayer with the Lord, he felt compelled to go down to the local bar and attempt to share his faith with whomever the Lord would bring into his path. Amazingly, Chad got into a great conversation with another guy about Jesus. This guy wasn't ready to give his life to Christ, but nevertheless, Chad was thrilled to be used by God to plant a seed that night. As he went back to his cabin near the lake (it was summer and Chad was a Camp Program Director), Chad felt so enflamed by the Spirit that he took off toward the dock with one thing on his mind--to walk on water. Yes, Chad was going to walk on water and say to the Lord, "I have faith that you can do it, just like I have faith that you can save the guy I talked with at the bar tonight." So with one leap Chad jumped off the dock, and lo and behold, he sank right in! Now, some would say that Chad was crazy to do what he did. And for the most part, I would agree. However, I think Chad challenged me to think about something that I often forget now that I'm past my crazy college days. I forget that God is calling me, just like he called Peter, to get out of the boat and walk by faith, not by sight.
You remember the story of Peter don't you? He sees Jesus walking on water and gets out of the boat to come to Jesus. But the minute his eyes turn away to look at the wind and waves he begins to sink. Jesus is there to save him but also to offer him this rebuke: "O you of little faith! Why did you doubt?" (Mt. 14:31)
Today I asked myself this question, "Is God calling me to get out of the boat?" You see, I think the boat represents what is presently safe and concrete in my life, things that I can trust with my own eyes, things that I can trust by sight. But the water represents what is unknown to me, those things that I must trust by faith, not by sight. So, in order for me to "get out of the boat" and "walk on water" I must be willing to walk by faith. That's the key issue in this story--faith.
If you remember, as Jesus started walking on the water toward his disciples, they were terrified and thought he was some ghost. But Jesus immediatly spoke to them saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid" (Mt. 14:27). It is I. It is I. It is I who was in the beginning with God (John 1:2). It is I who is before all things and holds all things together (Col. 1:17). It is I who upholds all things by the word of my power (Heb. 1:3). And it is I who has authority over all things in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18). It is I! It is I! It is I, Jesus says! That statement alone should be enough for me to get out of the boat and walk by faith.