Walking or Sinking?

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31, esv).

It was a dark and stormy night—like the cliché opening of a novel. In this case, it fits. Between three and four o’clock in the morning, the disciples got caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. At least four of the twelve were experienced, career fishermen. They knew enough about the reputation of this lake to be terrified. The rest of the disciples took their cues from the experts. If a seasoned fisherman like Simon Peter felt scared, shouldn’t they be scared too?

Then, just when they thought the wind and waves would take them under, Jesus walked by on the water! The disciples “cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (Matthew 14:26b–27). Basically, Jesus pointed out, “Why do you doubt? I’m right here.”

Peter extrapolated this a step further. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Don’t you love Peter’s boldness? He was quick to respond with faith, reasoning that if Jesus said he could walk on water, he could. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (Matthew 14:30).

Awww, Peter! You were doing so well. What happened?

Peter took his eyes off the Lord. Instead of seeing Jesus, he saw the raging storm. Does that ever happen to you? When your eyes are fixed on the Lord, life is good, regardless of what’s going on around you. But the moment you focus on the wind and waves, you start to sink.

Today, are you walking or sinking? If you’re going under, it’s because you’ve been looking at the waves (like the pitch and roll of the economy). You’ve been listening to the howling wind (like the voices of doom and gloom rampant in our society). You have been taking your cues from what others are saying or the way they are acting, instead of keeping your mind stayed on the Lord (Isaiah 26:3).

When the storms of life rage, God wants us to “have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18) and keep our eyes on Jesus, Lord of the wind and waves.

Peter cried out, “Lord, save me,” and “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him.” Even though Peter moved his eyes off the Lord and onto the storm, Jesus had everything entirely under control. That kind of assurance will settle your heart.

No matter what is happening or will come your way, God is in complete control, working for your good and His glory. Wait in faith—let Him guide and sustain you, even in the storms of life.


  • In Peter’s story, literal waves distracted him from Jesus. What figurative waves are crashing against you?
  • Recall a personal example of God’s sovereignty, either in your life or another believer’s. How did you see God come to the rescue during the storm? How does that strengthen your faith today?

Lord God, You are sovereign, in control of everything. Just as You didn’t let Peter sink, You won’t let me sink. Help me get my eyes off my circumstances and onto You. Thank You that You are the sure, steadfast anchor of my soul. Thank You that nothing is too hard for You. Let my life reflect the stability of knowing that You see and know and are at work on my behalf. In Jesus’ strong name, amen.