When was the last time your faith journey was doused with doubt? Lifelines are available for dealing with doubt. Remember, life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself. Learn from others!
Lifelines: Listen to the Right Voice
The storms in John 6 just keep coming. We’ve already seen the Storm of Direction and the Storm of Delay. To weather the Storm of Doubt we need to listen for instructions. But there are so many voices. Which is the right one? The point is perfectly illustrated as Jesus walked toward His disciples on the Sea of Galilee.
The disciples thought a ghost was approaching their boat. Then Jesus spoke to them and told them not to be afraid. At that, Peter made an unusual request. His request leads to one of our lifelines for the Storm of Doubt. Peter replied:
Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. And He said, “Come!”
Everyone in the boat was amazed by seeing Jesus walk on water. The other 11 had to have heard Peter’s request. Is it hard to imagine one or more of them saying something like, You’re out of your mind! Or, maybe they said, You can’t do that!
Peter verified the voice of Jesus. That’s the first of our lifelines. When storms come, we must do the same thing. Peter did more, but we’ll get to that.
Lifelines: Faith is Required
How many times do we hear a sermon or read our Bibles and then consider what we’ve heard or read? What we think is thoughtful consideration is actually being a hearer of the Word but not a doer of the Word. We should always approach the Word of God with a predetermined intent to obey. That is exactly how Peter approached the Word. Don’t see the Word? Who was Peter listening to? The Apostle John tells us:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Peter saw the incredible sight of Jesus, the Word, walking toward him. And Peter had faith in the authority of Jesus’ commands. Notice the structure of Peter’s request:
- Command me
- Implied: If You command me, I can walk on water (or anything else!)
All the power and provision we need to accomplish God’s will is contained within His command. Scripture shows this truth many times.
Lifelines: Obedience Follows Faith
According to James, the evidence of genuine faith is action. Peter acted on his faith. We see that in Matthew’s account:
And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Peter left that boat believing the Word. Every step Peter took toward Jesus was a step of faith. But then things started to go wrong. And that often happens to you and me.
Lifelines: Prayer Sets Things Straight
Have do you know prayer is present in the Storm of Doubt? What is prayer? It’s a conversation with God. With that in mind, let me show you the prayer:
But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Peter began very focused on Jesus. Then Peter started noticing the waves. He heard the howling wind. He felt the spray in his face. What was happening? Fear of his circumstances became greater than his faith in Jesus’ command. Then Peter talked to God, i.e., he prayed: Lord, save me! Jesus picked him up. Our struggles in the Storm of Doubt follow a very similar pattern. Learn from Peter. Stay focused on Jesus and pray often.
Lifelines: A Bonus Question
Was the water holding Peter up, or was it something else? I’ll say I think it was something else. I wholeheartedly believe Peter got out of the boat and walked across the water to Jesus. But does water hold anybody up? Jesus could in fact make the water hold Peter up (or anyone else with faith enough to get out of the boat). But here is the truth I want to leave you with, and the truth I think Jesus wants us to know:
Peter was walking on the Word. And no matter the circumstances of your storm, so can you!
Soli Deo Gloria!