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Apr 14 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Forty-nine – Matthew 14:22-36

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

Peter said to Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.
Matthew 14:28

What a crazy idea! “Lord, if that is really You out there, tell me to come to You.” What if the figure coming towards them had been a ghost, as the disciples first assumed? Could not a ghost as easily reply, “Sure, come to me”? Peter would have quickly realized the logical weakness of his test–under water.

What bodacious faith! Certainly, the disciples had never seen Jesus walk on water. Did they ever guess he could do such a thing? Much less that he would enable anyone else to walk on water. That simply hearing the voice in the dark say, “Come!” seems like far-fetched evidence that it was Jesus out there. But with that one word, Peter hoisted himself over the gunnel and onto the lake.

For some time, Jesus had wanted to be alone (v. 13). He finally found solitude after he made the disciples climb into the boat and he sent the crowds away. Jesus was still alone when he walked out on the lake to meet the disciples–so alone, so not one of them, that they thought he was not a human. Their conclusion about him changed by the time he was sitting in their boat, but their notion that he was fundamentally different from them did not change. For in their minds he went from being a ghost to being “God’s Son!”

How many thousands of prayers have begun, “Lord, if it is You . . .”? It is a question we ask in the dark when we sense the presence of another and want to make certain it is the One who is familiar and safe. But it is also a question we ask all the way through our life of faith.

  • Lord, is it You? I must know, because at times it seems like my imagination. Other times, I feel alone and I have little support when I stand in faith. I fear that if I stop believing for five seconds, the whole thing will collapse. But if it is You, please give me some kind of evidence.
  • Lord, is it You? I am trying to discern the right path, trying to make the right choice, and if I know that You are in one of these options, then I know what to do.

Of course, “proof” is exactly what Jesus will not give us. There is no room for certainty in faith. If we have proof, we no longer have faith–we have something else. If we are going to climb out of the boat, it will depend on the faith in our heart and not the absolute certainty in our head.

Lord, we confess our “little faith.” Sadly, we do not live in a time that affords us the luxury of doubt. Natural and human disasters are claiming lives all over the globe; disease is spreading, dangers are looming, children are suffering. The world needs women and men brave enough to trust Your power and compassion, to dream up extraordinary solutions. Make us such, even if the next step You ask us to take seems far-fetched.

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