Sometimes I can be so easily distracted. Things of no real value will distract me. I get caught up in the things around me more than I should. This morning was one of those mornings. This song from the old days was the distraction; an old song by George Thorogood.
The hook kept ringing in my ears as I prayed. But I had fired up the 76 hours of God’s Word being live streamed by my home church, and as I prayed a passage with the phrase “You of little faith” kicked the hook from the song out, and a battle ensued between God’s Word and the George Thorogood song.
The reader was in Matthew. The passage came from that part of Matthew that spoke of Jesus walking on water. It begins in Matthew 14:22. I paused and listened and reflected on the passage. I turned the volume down so that it was just audible, and meditated on the passages.
Matthew 14:22-24 (ESV) Jesus Walks on the Water
This passage is one of my favorites examples of faith and struggles we have in the Gospels. It gives me such comfort and humility. Christ feeds five thousand, and he sends the Apostles ahead in a boat, and He goes to pray alone.
Matthew 14:22-24 (ESV) 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.
The Apostles too were alone in the boat a long distance from shore. They were “beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.” Alone, they struggled to move forward, but on the fourth watch they saw something on the water that they did not understand.
Matthew 14:25-27 (ESV) The Apostles are Frightened
25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.
You know when I am distracted and feel alone it is easy to allow the challenges of this world to distract me and fear is never far away. I think fear is one of those tools the adversary uses to try and steal our joy, but we have the Holy Spirit. If we listen we can hear.
Matthew 14:27-28 (ESV) Jesus Reassured
During their fear, Jesus cried out to them.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
They heard him, but it seems to me they were still uncertain and Peter asked for a sign, and that question was convicting. How many times does Jesus tell me not to be afraid and I ask Him for a sign? They are not always as dramatic as Peter’s request, but none the less I cannot help but be humbled. What must that feel like to Jesus?
He tells me not to be afraid and does not leap forward I ask Jesus to convince me. Peter’s request is a dramatic one.
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
As I read this, I could imagine Jesus rolling his eyes and granting the request with a bit of disappointment. It is not enough that He told them who He was Peter wanted Him to prove it.
Matthew 14:29-32 (ESV) Peter Steps Out of the Boat
Jesus granted Peters request, and Peter stepped out of the boat. He began walking toward Jesus.
29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
But Peter’s faith faltered as he turned his gaze from Jesus to the circumstances around him.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
How many times have I done that? I asked Jesus for something and He answered me but as I moved out in faith the circumstances around me and the distractions of the adversary opened the door for me to doubt and become frightened. But even in my doubt when I cry out to Jesus and He restores my hope.
I look back at this passage and I think of all the times that I have disappointed God with my fears and doubt. Yet He does not give up on me. He answers my prayer and when I am struggling He is there with me like he was with the Apostles on the water. It puts me in mind of a verse from Revelation.
Revelation 3:19 (ESV) 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
I am so thankful that Jesus loves me enough to “reprove and discipline” me. What an amazing blessing it is to be loved by the Creator of the Universe. He could crush me for my doubts and fears yet instead He uses my struggles to teach me to hold fast to Him.
He lifts me out of my fear like He lifted Peter out of the water.
As I reflect on this lesson today I am reminded of two passage. Both I keep in my Heart. The first is Mark 9:24, and the second is 2 Timothy 1:6-7. Both are reminders that I am not alone. Both remind me that the Holy Spirit is always with me.
The first I often pray when struggling.
Mark 9:24 (ESV) 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
When the adversary tries to introduce doubt and fear into my life I cry this out in fear and then the Holy Spirit replies.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV) 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
What power there is in God’s Word. Where would I be without it. I pray a prayer of thanksgiving.
Father God, thank you for the gift of Your Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to always remind me of your love for me. Thank you for lifting me out of my fears and circumstances. Only you can save.
I believe Father. Thank you for helping me with my unbelief.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
Oh, by the way… God won the battle for my thoughts. He always wins if I will just listen. 😊