Walking on Water? by Randy Rowley 06/30/22 (c)


In early January, seven friends and I arrived at Port O’Connor for a weekend FCS coastal self-guided/chartered blast and cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip).

On Friday afternoon, Binh Chu, Burl Fulenwider, Daryl Shipper, and I hunted at the back of a small cove.  Although no ducks wanted to come into our decoy spread, we managed to kill four ducks via pass shooting (shooting them as they flew by).  I killed a pintail drake and a redhead drake, Burl and I teamed up to kill a redhead hen, and Binh and Daryl teamed up to kill a redhead drake.

When my group returned to the POC Fishing Center, it was pitch black.  Daryl tied his boat up to a pier post and stayed in his boat.  As the rest of us exited Daryl’s boat onto the wooden dock, I warned, “Everyone be careful – only two men have ever walked on water, and none of you are them.”  Binh left to get Daryl’s truck and trailer.

When I saw Binh driving towards the ramp, I walked over to Daryl’s boat to untie it from the pier post and took a step where I thought there was a deck – but it was nothing but air (instead of being squared the end of the deck was at a 45-degree angle).  I quickly discovered I couldn’t walk on water and was completely submerged.

Fortunately, I immediately surfaced due to my built-in life jacket (my big belly).  Daryl offered one of his hands to me and pulled me over to the dock.  I then pulled myself along the side of the dock towards the shore until I could touch the bottom of the Gulf Intracoastal waterway with my feet.

My right calf cramped up when I tried to swim with my waders on, but my less than 24-hour-old Samsung Galaxy S10+ and both of my car remotes survived their saltwater bath, thanks to spending several hours in a Zip-Lok bag full of rice.  The only bad results from my unplanned swim were a very sore calf and knee (both quickly healed), and the inside of my waders was soaked (but I mostly solved that problem the next morning by putting on more clothes than I did the day before).

The two men who walked on water I referred to when I issued my warning were Jesus and Peter.  Matthew 14:14-21 and John 6:5-13 recount Jesus accomplishing a miracle the world had never seen before.  (A miracle is an extraordinary unnatural event science can’t explain that Christians believe God did.)  Around 5,000 men, not counting women and children, had followed Jesus on foot from nearby towns, and he was healing people who were sick.  As it grew late, the disciples asked Jesus to dismiss the crowd as the people didn’t have any food with them.  But Jesus used the five loaves of bread and two fish a boy had brought for a meal to feed everyone miraculously.

Matthew 14:22-33 recounts that Jesus told his disciples to get into a boat and go ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus dismissed the crowd and went up to a mountainside to pray alone.  While it was still dark, he went to join the disciples by walking on the sea – another miracle that had never been done before.

A strong wind was blowing, waves were battering the boat, and it was far from land.  The disciples were terrified when they saw Jesus, thinking he was a ghost.  But Jesus told them it was him and not to be afraid.  Peter then asked Jesus to tell him to come to him on the sea, and Jesus’s response was, “Come” (verse 29).  Peter then exited the boat and walked on the sea toward Jesus.  But when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the waves, he became afraid, began sinking, and begged Jesus to save him.  Immediately Jesus caught him and said (in verse 31b), “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they climbed into the boat, the wind stopped.  Then the disciples worshiped him and said (in verse 33b), “Truly you are the Son of God.”

The disciples had just witnessed what became known as ‘the miracle of the five loaves and two fish’ and ‘the feeding of the five thousand men.’  Out of all the miracles Jesus accomplished, this miracle probably impacted the most people.  The disciples knew Jesus would join them, but when they saw someone walking on the sea, they forgot the miracle they’d just seen and their faith in Jesus and let superstition rule them.

This passage contains several lessons, including:

  • Faith can release God’s supernatural power.  Peter didn’t see God’s supernatural power happen to him – allowing him to walk on the sea – until after he trusted Jesus to accomplish that miracle and protect him.  Are we trusting Jesus to do miraculous things in our lives?  How many miracles have we missed out on because our inability to trust God didn’t allow him to release his supernatural power?
  • Taking the next steps and keeping our eyes on Jesus are major components of faith.  Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the sea.  Then he took more steps as he went toward Jesus.  Although Peter was in the midst of a terrible storm, focusing on his next steps and keeping his eyes on Jesus allowed Jesus to accomplish a miracle in Peter’s life.  Jesus stopped allowing Peter to participate in the miracle when Peter stopped planning and implementing his next steps and keeping his eyes on Jesus and instead focused on the difficulties he faced.  How often have we seen God’s will defeated by not planning, implementing our next steps, and keeping our eyes on Jesus?  When God is doing God-things in our lives, do we become complacent or keep our eye on the prize?
  • Fear is a faith killer.  When Peter exhibited faith in Jesus, he did something no man had ever done: walk on water.  But when he took his eyes off the miracle’s source (Jesus), he allowed his circumstances to overrule his faith in Jesus and began sinking.  It wasn’t Peter seeing the waves that stopped his participation in that miracle – it was his fear of what the waves could do.  The same is true for us – fear will sink us faster than a hidden stump in a marsh will sink a boat.  Is our fear of what’s possible controlling us?
  • Jesus saves us spiritually and practically.  Peter’s faith in Jesus allowed Jesus to save Peter’s soul from spiritual death, and on the day Jesus and Peter walked on water, Jesus saved Peter from drowning (physical death).  Are we praising Jesus for the bad outcomes he probably saved us from?
  • A little amount of faith is far better than none.  Since this recount, Peter has received much criticism for taking his eyes off of Jesus, who spoke of the little amount of faith Peter presented.  But what other disciple left the boat and walked on the sea?  Compared to Peter’s “little faith,” the other disciples showed none.  Are we striving for at least the same amount of faith Peter had?
  • When we see God do something that doesn’t make sense, we can choose to fear or worship him.  When the disciples saw Jesus save Peter, they suddenly went from being extremely fearful to worshipping Jesus.  How do we respond when God does the miraculous or unexpected?  Is our default fear or worship?

I certainly couldn’t walk on water when presented with the opportunity after our duck hunt on that dark January night.  But God may gift us with a miracle or accomplish one through us at any time.  How will we respond when God blesses us with such gifts and opportunities?

A very wet Randy, with Binh and Burl

The deck that Randy thought was square

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.