“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:31
Throughout the school year our children are required by the school that they attend to memorize portions of Scripture. Each morning we gather together and say our pledges and read the scripture that they are to be learning. As part of their daily goals, they are required to learn a new verse of the Scripture and recite it to one of the teachers by the end of the day. The portion of Scripture that we are learning right now is found in Matthew 14:22-33.
If you have never stood in a room and listened to a group of children recite memory verses, you are missing out on a blessing. As I stand and listen to each of those children recite, from memory, a portion of God’s word, I can only imagine how God must feel as He watches these precious children hide His word in their hearts as He has commanded each of us to do.
Yesterday, my oldest son was quoting the verse that I have chosen to share with you today. As he recited his scripture, the words, “And immediately, Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,” caught my attention.
I thought about the story of Peter and how he had asked Jesus to allow him to come and walk on the water. We know that in the story as Peter steps out on the water and begins to walk to Jesus he sees the storm around him, takes his eyes off of Jesus, and immediately begins to sink. In verse 30 we read that as Peter begins to sink, he cries out to God to save him. Today I want us to focus on verse 31. Particularly the part that says, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,”
How many times in our lives have we acted just as Peter did in this story we read today? We ask God for the opportunity to do something, or we ask God to open a door for us, and then when He does and things get a little rough, we get scared. We allow the storm to distract us and we take our eyes off of Jesus. Realizing that the situation in which we are standing is so much bigger than ourselves, we panic. In fear, we begin to sink. If we are smart, we will do as Peter did and cry out for God to save us.
The encouragement I want to offer to you today comes not from Peter walking on the water, nor from him getting scared and sinking, but from Jesus’ response to Peter as he begins to sink. You see, the very moment that Peter cried out for Jesus to save him, Jesus Immediately reached down and caught Peter. Friends, He wants to do the same for us. When life gets scary, when we look around and realize that the storm is here, when we let the storm distract us and we let fear get the better of us, God wants us to cry out to Him. When we do that, He will do just as He did for Peter. Immediately, God will reach down, and catch us. He will set our feet back on solid ground.
Life is full of opportunities, chances to allow God to show us His power. God wants us to step out in faith and come to Him, just as Peter did. Along with those opportunities, however, we may encounter a few storms, a few waves. There are lessons to be learned from this story:
First, I believe that we must never take our eyes off of the One who gives us the power to do the impossible. We must learn to keep our eyes on the source of our strength and not let the waves cause us to fear and doubt.
Second, I want us to remember that if we do get scared, if we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink, we must do as Peter did and cry out to Him. Do not allow yourself to sink in despair. Do not let fear get the better of you, cry out to God and immediately he will reach down and catch you. He will not allow you to sink. He will not allow fear to overtake you. He will pick you up, and He will save you.