Peter’s experience of briefly walking on the storm tossed water of the Sea of Galilee teaches me important principles about having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that I can apply to my life. Of this event, Matthew records:
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:22-33)
From this event, I learn the following.
First, when the Savior’s disciples saw Him walking on the water amidst the waves and the wind “they were troubled”. Then Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” During the storms of life, I need to remember and stay focused on the Savior. With faith in Him, I can be positive, happy, hopeful, and not afraid of what’s happening around me. Without faith in Jesus Christ, life can be daunting, and filled with doubt, fear, and despair.
Second, when Peter recognized the Savior he asked Jesus to invite him to leave the boat and walk on the water to Him. As Peter climbed out of the boat at the Savior’s bidding, he had the faith to walk on the water even though the ship was being “tossed with waves”. Faith is a principle of power, even the power to walk on water, or more importantly it gives me the power follow the Savior in dealing with the difficulties of life .
Third, I don’t know how long Peter walked on the water, but after a while he became frightened because “he saw the wind boisterous.” Fear overcame him and he lost faith. “Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other.” (Kevin Pearson, Ensign, May 2009). As one increases the other decreases. Peter quickly went from having enough faith to walk on the water to being fearful, losing faith and beginning to sink. How prone am I to vacillate between faith and fear?
And finally, as Peter lost the power to walk on the water and began to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me.” I believe that this plea shows Peter still had a little faith left. After all, the Lord said to him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” He did not say, “O thou of no faith.” In this moment of need, Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and saved him. Peter lost the faith to walk on the water, but when he cried out in faith for the Savior’s help, Jesus was ready to help. I know that if I have enough faith to cry out to the Savior in my time of need, He stands ready to rescue me just as He did Peter.