This week’s gospel reading is another gem. Here’s part of the story:
[Jesus] said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:29-31 NRSV)
I think this story is important for two reasons. First, life would be easier if we just did what Jesus said. At Jesus’ command, Peter was able to do something astounding. Second, life would be easier if we weren’t so determined to be in control all the time. Peter sank like a rock at the very moment he thought he could protect himself.
What are your stubborn-as-a-rock moments? When have you felt God calling you to do something, but you let fear get in the way? Where have you seen a glimmer of grace, then pushed it aside because, well, it looked too good to be true?
It’s human. It’s normal. We live in a logical world where if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. But God’s ways are not our ways. What seems too good to be true for us seems totally practical for God. And as the people of God in the world, we just have to shut up and take it – take as much of that grace as you can handle.
Luther wrote about that, too. Of course, his writing was a bit more eloquent than mine:
I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith. Daily in this Christian Church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins – mine and those of all believers. On the last day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give to me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.
See? Aren’t you glad its not up to you?