Overcoming Hard Circumstances


IN THE STORY OF PETER WALKING ON WATER he did one thing wrong but two right. You remember the story. The disciples were directed by Jesus (that’s significant) to row across the Sea of Galilee while he stayed behind to pray. They had not rowed far when a violent wind whipped up the waves. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water not far from them. When Peter recognized that it was not a ghost but Jesus he got caught up in the wonder of what Jesus was able to do and enthusiastically asked to be part of it. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” He trusted that if Jesus said, “Come” he would also enable. But Peter had not taken many steps when he saw the waves whipping up around him, became afraid and began to sink. Then he cried out to Jesus to save him and Jesus did so but also chided him for the littleness of his faith.

The first right thing Peter did, and we should do the same, is that he got caught up in the wonder of what Jesus was able to do and asked to be made part of it. Though his faith faltered, no other mortal has done what he did. At least to begin with, he had confidence that if Jesus said, “Come,” he would also enable him. Do you see in Jesus what he might do in and through you? Ask him to do it and if he says “come” he will also enable.

When Peter saw the waves, threatening to overwhelm him, his faith sank and he began to as well. Peter’s story is a reminder that when we respond to Jesus’ invitation to do what only he can do we will most certainly face hard circumstances that will feel overwhelming. We need to hold the course and trust that the one who called us is with us, despite all appearances. Jesus gently chides our unbelief when we sink in the face of adversity.

But if we have lost our faith and are feeling too overwhelmed to get above our circumstances we need to do what Peter did. He simply cried out for help. He was sinking and did not have it in him to overcome his circumstances. Although Jesus wanted him to have greater faith, seeing he didn’t have it, he rescued him. He pulled him above the waves and to safety. Peter lived on to have greater and greater faith and so shall we.

So, let’s ask to do what only Jesus can do, knowing that he who calls also enables. Once started, let’s trust even though circumstances might say we are going to fail. And if we lose confidence because of harsh circumstances and find ourselves sinking let’s cry out to the one who can rescue us when we cannot muster the faith to overcome.

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