“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.” Matthew 14:29 (NLT)
Peter’s example is so helpful to us. He jumped overboard in faith, started walking on water, and then took his focus off Jesus. I read this and think, “That’s so totally me.” Don’t you love the character of Peter? Don’t you love that he’s in the Bible and that he’s like you and me? The passage tells us,
“But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”
In other words, when Peter looked past the storm into the eyes of Christ, God gave him the power to walk on the water. But, when Peter looked at the stormy circumstances around him, the wind and the waves, he became fearful and started to go under. When Peter looked at the waves, he forgot about Jesus and felt like he was all alone in the storm.
I imagine you’ve heard this lesson from this miracle before. But, I think this simple teaching has another layer of meaning. When we look at Jesus, we see reflected in His eyes an image of ourselves, our true worth, our real value. Our faith in Him yields a confidence in who we are in Him. When we are looking to find our miracle and we look into the eyes of Jesus, we see ourselves as He sees us – beloved, cherished, and worthy. But, when we look away, when we see the circumstances that surround us, when we see the waves of problems we face, when we no longer see our reflection in Jesus’ eyes, suddenly we question who we are, what we can do, and if we can overcome. We lose faith in the miracle that God may have for us, because our view of the world no longer has Christ in it.
Maybe you’re looking around at the waves that are crashing against you, and it feels as if you’re all alone. No. The God of the universe is with you. It’s just that you lost your focus on Jesus. You focused on the fear and stopped looking at the One who loves you with His life. Here’s a simpler way to say it: When we look at ourselves, we become overwhelmed by our powerlessness. When we look at Jesus, we become empowered to jump overboard into the miracle He has for us.
It’s no accident that so many songs and hymns speak about our seeing Jesus, looking toward Him, and fixing our eyes on Him. “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, “Be Thou My Vision”, and “Open My Eyes That I May See” all call us to look into the eyes of Jesus and see our circumstances in the context of the great Miracle Worker.
As you seek your miracle, remember Peter walking on water as he looked into Jesus’ eyes. Peter was doing fine until he looked away from Jesus and became overwhelmed by his circumstances. Remember this lesson: focus on Jesus. Don’t focus on the perfect storm that’s in your life. Focus on the perfect love of your Savior that will never let you go.