I mess up a lot. I forget things, I say things I regret, I forget to look to God for my strength regularly, and nothing seems to go the way that I had planned. Life can get really mixed up sometimes. I realize I am a broken vessel; I am imperfect. It is then that I remember that I need to call out to Jesus because He alone is perfect and He can put everything that I have mixed up back the way it should be.
Matthew 14:24-36 illustrates why it is so important to cry out to Jesus when we start to sink beneath the weight of our imperfection. As this story begins, Jesus had just finished feeding the five thousand. He sent His disciples out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and He went to be alone to pray. While He was praying, the disciples had travelled to the midst of the sea and encountered very windy weather that was tossing their boat on the waves. During the fourth watch, which was between 3 am and 6 am in the morning, Jesus decided to rejoin the disciples and He walked out on the sea to meet them.
Can you imagine? It was early morning, perhaps still quite dark and the disciples had spent a rough night battling the wind and waves. Suddenly someone looks up and sees what looks like Jesus walking toward them over the waves of the lake. The disciples were afraid. The passage says they were calling out in fear. In verse 27 Jesus says, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Peter wants to prove it is really Jesus and he says, in verse 28, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Peter was willing to take a step out of the boat and walk across the water to Jesus. Can you imagine how he felt? Have you ever felt like God was calling you to do something that you were pretty sure you were incapable of doing? I know I have felt that way on many occasions. It can be pretty scary to take on a task that you are sure you cannot complete in your own strength and imperfection.
Peter was bold. Jesus called him and he stepped out of the boat because he trusted Jesus to hold him up out of the wild waves that were surrounding him. One step, two steps, three steps… he’s doing it, he’s walking on the water, but it’s really windy and he’s starting to look around at the waves surrounding him. He has stopped focusing on Jesus Who is reaching out to him across the sea. Suddenly the sea water is up to his ankles and soon it is up to his knees, then his waist. He started focusing on the wind and waves; maybe he could hear the other men back in the boat. He got distracted and forgot that the most important thing for him to focus on was Jesus who was bidding him to come to Him across the waves.
Peter knew he was sinking. He had stepped out in faith, but had started to sink as he became more and more distracted. He didn’t want to get any deeper. He wanted out of there so I don’t think he took the time to beat himself up over his own imperfection. He didn’t say, “Oh, why did I start looking at the wind and waves? Why did I listen to those other guys back in the boat?”
Matthew 14:30 says, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Instead, he instantly called out to Jesus because he knew, he believed that despite his own imperfection and lack of faith, Jesus would remain faithful and would instantly come to his rescue.
When Peter cried out Jesus reached out His hand and lifted Peter up. He didn’t put Peter back in the boat, but He drew him to Himself on the angry sea. Jesus did not push him back the way he had come but pulled Peter forward and kept him safe in the midst of the sea. Together they went back to the safety of the boat, with Peter held safely in Jesus’ arms.
Jesus reaches out to us in the midst of our imperfection because we are His children and He loves us. We will always come up short when we rely on ourselves but He will always be there to rescue us whenever we call on Him. Jesus has redeemed us through the shedding of His blood for our sins and every time we call out to Him in our imperfection we experience that redemption through His faithfulness to us.
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