When [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30, esv).
Picture the scene. A raging storm, giant waves crashing against a first-century fishing boat, and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Imagine their terror-filled eyes as water poured over the sides, negating their efforts to bail. Then God shows up.
Appearing at the least likely moment, Jesus walked toward them on the churning sea with a calm assurance. “It is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 27). Twelve jaws must have dropped as the disciples, who had been totally focused on survival, were riveted by this supernatural sight.
Hearing Jesus’ voice, Peter didn’t hold back: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (v. 28). So over the edge Peter climbed and—incredibly, miraculously—began to walk on top of the rolling waves. Until he sank.
The passage tells us why: “When he saw the wind, he was afraid.” Peter got distracted. In crisis his priority had rightly shifted from the raging storm to Jesus, but it didn’t stay there. Almost immediately Peter’s focus returned to his circumstances—and the consequences came in an instant.
Like Peter, the moment we take our eyes off of the Lord we sink. When our attention drifts, we lose our ability to hear His voice. The same wind and waves that jolt us into crying out to God one moment can distract us from Him in the next.
Here are a few common distractions that may be hindering your ability to focus on Jesus.
The Comparison Distraction: Have you been prompted to compare other people or circumstances against God’s provision for your life? Is your sense of fairness obscuring your perception of His good desires for you?
The Pride Distraction: Have you allowed an offense to become an obstacle in the path of restoring a relationship? Are your strong opinions getting in the way of being open to God’s plans?
The Bitterness Distraction: Are you bent on making someone pay for the pain they’ve caused, instead of leaving it in the Lord’s hands? Rather than pursuing peace, are you nurturing a minor matter into a major rift?
If any of those resonate, you’ve been distracted. If you can’t remember the last time you’ve looked to the Lord to direct your steps—you’ve been distracted. You’re going under. Your eyes have gotten off of Jesus and onto something else. Confess it for the sin it is. Cry out like Peter, “Lord, save me”! And believe that He will.
Today is an opportunity not to sink into distraction, but to focus on the Lord and what He’s teaching you. To trust Him to handle the hard situations. To release your pain and bitterness. To forgive as He has forgiven you.
This is what life should be for growing followers of Christ: looking to God for wisdom and responding with obedience, even in the face of what may seem impossible. All the while, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
God, I confess I’ve allowed myself to be distracted, and I don’t want to be anymore. Please forgive me. I want to trust You. Give me the strength and self-control I need to fix my eyes on You. Help me keep my attention on my Savior, so I can learn what You want me to learn and be who You want me to be. You are worthy of my full attention. I want to hear Your voice. In Jesus’ name, amen.