“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
During a time of prayer and worship at our church, I sensed that there are many of us have stepped out in faith, believing the Lord has called us upon the water, only to find ourselves sinking.
We have believed God for a healing, a restored relationship, a career change, or a breakthrough of another kind and are taken aback because rather than rising above a situation, we are sinking under. Dazed and confused, we crawl back into the boat wondering why God let us sink.
In response to this prophetic moment in prayer, I felt Lord say, “Peter… I called you out on this water for a purpose, and sinking even just a little, was part of it.”
Storms Aren’t a Surprise to God
Do we really think that the storms that come our way in life are a surprise to The Almighty? After all, we are talking about the God that holds the entire universe in place with the power of His word and works things out through the counsel of His supreme will. Did this storm that the disciples found themselves in the midst of really surprise Him? I think not.
Let’s look back at the text and I’ll show you what I mean. Notice in verse 22 that it says Jesus “made” the disciples go into the boat so they could go to the other side before Him. The Greek word used here for “made” is anagkazo (Strong’s # 315). Anagkazo is an odd way to get folks in a boat if you were to ask me. The Vines Lexicon explains that the word denotes “to put constraint upon (from the word ananke, ‘necessity’), to constrain,” whether by threat, entreaty, force or persuasion. You can see it’s intensity in Luke 14:23 when Jesus was giving the parable of the great supper in the Kingdom of God where it is translated “compel”, “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Compel them to come!!!
It’s almost as if Jesus was saying “Please…get in the boat! You must get in the boat.” Now, you can imagine the intensity if they were already in a sinking ship and He was trying to get them into a life boat but this situation is the other way around. Jesus was compelling them to get them into a boat that was going to encounter a storm.
You see, sometimes, God calls us on the water and then allows us to go under just a smidgen so we can see His sovereign hand reaching out to save us. Although we feel forsaken because we are sinking fast, we are not. Jesus is with us, we are not alone and He is aware of every single thing that is going on. From there (that place of feeling like we are sinking), we are learning an invaluable lesson. We are learning that we will see His hand reach out to us at just the right time.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). God uses both the good and the bad together. Not just the good and not just the bad. He uses all things; the good, the bad, and everything in between, and works it together for good. In His Sovereignty, He uses them both.
Peter walked on the water (good) and Peter also began to sink (bad). Yet it was all happening under God’s watchful eye and He had a purpose for it all that everyone on that boat would benefit from then and now.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Peter only sank a little yet he was not sunken because He served a God who had a plan and a purpose for his life. This was all part of becoming the rock Jesus would build His church upon. The same holds true for us all.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
God has called you here for a purpose and you are not alone. He is there with you and you will see His hand reach out to you. Amen and Amen.