Waves. From oceans deep to sandy shores, they never can stop coming. Fierce and unapologetic they prove to be, rolling through like clockwork whether or not we’re ready. The ocean is full and vast and dangerous. Every day, there’s a thrilling opportunity to dive into it.
These days, I can’t imagine going to the beach and not at least touching the water. I know I could potentially get hurt, unknown things lurking around my naked feet, but I can’t stay away. There’s something about the vastness of the sea, the beauty in the mystery. And even though many have fallen victim to the raging waters, there’s a peace that won’t ever let me get swallowed up in fear. Because I’ve tasted and now that I’ve seen, my heart is no longer satisfied with desiring anything less than the thrill of the deep.
The thing is, the further we venture, the more danger we enter. There’s no escaping the waves when there’s no shore to easily swim to. Whether calm or chaotic, the waters are relentless—and so it is in our own lives. Waves are just like the days that keep on coming. There’s no end as long as we’re alive and breathing (and there hasn’t been a pause since Joshua commanded the sun to stand still). Day after day, life hits us with waves of all sizes without our permission. There is no controlling what may come, but when we simply remember Jesus is with us, we can rise up and learn to seriously brave the waves.
More Than a Cool Story
Peter (yes, the one who walked on water) is becoming more of an icon in the Christian faith. It’s hard not to be drawn to his own story of braving the waves. He did what none of the other disciples were willing to do—get out of the boat. (I’d even be so bold to assume that no one else thought to do such a thing.) Besides that, there’s much more beauty to this well-known tale we love to tell.
Peter walking on the water isn’t even the moral of the story, in my opinion. Jesus walked on the water. On His way back from the mountain, He walked on the waves that were already tossing the disciples’ boat back and forth. This storm that brought them trouble and painted their fears made them unstable. They were busy trying to stay afloat when He showed up that instead of recognizing Him, they thought He was a ghost. Immediately, He eased their worry and told them to not be afraid. Now this is where the story gets really good.
It Takes Faith
The second Jesus revealed Himself, Peter believed Him. Not only did he believe Him, but immediately, with the storm still raging around him, he let Jesus become his peace. So much so that he just wanted to get to Him no matter the wind, no matter the waves. Peter’s intimacy with Jesus was the foundation for his faith to do the unthinkable.
The key we tend to overlook is the reason Peter stepped out in the first place—he just wanted to get to Jesus. The moment it clicked for him that Jesus was in reach, the waves didn’t matter anymore. The crashing waves didn’t stop before he got out of the boat. Contrary to popular belief, I like to think he barely cared about the miracle he was directly a part of. I believe he just wanted to get closer to the One who came to calm the storm that he was in.
Brave the Waves, Peter Style
It’s natural to focus on the miracle, but it can’t help us brave the waves in our lives—only Jesus can. When we look to Him despite the waves (no matter the size) around us, our closeness to the Prince of Peace inadvertently develops the faith we need to stay above water. It’s crazy to think, but truly we don’t have to sink.
Pressure crashes over us in various forms: never-ending bills, sudden or expected fatalities, sickness and disease, heartbreak, stress, roadblocks, failure—the list goes on. We can’t stop things from happening or not happening, but we do have the beautiful gift of looking to Jesus (every day, all the time, no matter what we face). Wave after wave, day after day, it can feel like we can’t catch a break. And maybe we’re exhausted from all that life’s thrown at us and we’d prefer to be on the shore for a bit. Maybe we’re sick of the tossing and turning. If that’s the case, we can remember the beautiful truth that no matter what season we’re in, Jesus will always remain the same. He is our peace and He is always present, whether we’re in trouble or not. So if we can be like Peter, forgetting the wind and the waves because we just want to get closer to Jesus, we’ll no doubt find ourselves surfing on faith with crazy stories to tell as we radically brave the waves.