Jesus put the disciples in the boat.
He sent them ahead.
The wind was against them.
Jesus walks out to meet them. When the disciples see him, they are terrified.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”Matthew 14:22-31, NIV
They likely didn’t expect Jesus to meet them in such a way. The circumstances and conditions threw them off. And Peter, when he stepped out of the boat, probably didn’t grasp what faith in action could feel like, in the seemingly impossible. He probably didn’t imagine that doubt could feel more certain than trust.
Buffeting waves are a repeated force. Wind holds back or propels forward, another force. And water, especially deep, is a false foundation to feet.
Oh, Lord, if it’s you … when compelled to walk with Jesus, why do I fear what is around me? Why do I doubt in circumstances? When forces seen and unseen buffet and blow, what is the substance of my foundation?
In Peter’s fear and faltering, he cries out. And Jesus is near enough to reach out and catch him.
Lord, may I never forget how near you are.