Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Space Between

Peter stands in the space between faith and fear.

The story is familiar to most of us.  Jesus' disciples have gone ahead in a boat, at his instructions, and a strong wind comes up, buffeting the waves against them.  They are frightened, understandably.  Then they see Jesus walking on the water toward them.  They don't recognize him and believe he's a ghost.  Their fear escalates to terror.  Peter, always the blustery, forge-ahead type, calls out, "Lord, if it is you, call me and I will come to you."  (I'm paraphrasing here...the verses are Matthew 14:22-33.)

Jesus says "come" and Peter does.  He had been afraid, he chooses faith, and, then, he walks on water.  Until fear grabs hold of him again, and he begins to sink.  Back and forth the waves rock them.  Up and down they float.  He is firm and then he is sinking.  It only takes a moment for the circumstance to change, for fear to turn to faith and back to fear again.

I've often read this story and thought Peter was a wimp.  Then, I move on to berating myself for also having so little faith (I know I'd sink right alongside him).  Why does he look at the wind and waves?  Keep your eyes on Jesus, I think, as if that's easy to do.  I never look at Peter with admiration for getting out of the boat in the first place. 

This morning in church our priest pointed out how impressed she was by Peter's willingness to leap over the edge of the boat.  She said, "I can relate to Peter.  Many, many times, like him, I have stood on the edge between faith and fear."

And so have I.  Her words resonated within me.  I'm in a faith/fear place now, in fact.  God is calling me to trust Him for provision.  He's asking me to step and believe, not trusting in what I see happening all around me, but instead trusting in His voice, His presence in the midst of the tumult that comes against faith every time.  I pray that as I engage the process, step over the edge, and choose faith, that I will continue to choose faith even after I have slipped and fallen back into fear.  That, like Peter, I will reach out and take hold of Jesus' hand and experience His faithfulness all over again.

Linking up with Michelle at Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.


  1. I'm so thankful to read this today. I teach on Peter next Sunday and this helped focus my thoughts and prepare me. Faith over fear. I stumble, but in my failing God reaches again. Beautiful thoughts.

  2. I always liked the title of John Ortberg's book ~ "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat."

    When our daughter was in highschool, the youth pastor built a boat for the youth room and each week students would pin pieces of paper to it, with notes of ways they had trusted God that week. Cool visual.


  3. Love this. Listen to what you wrote Jenny -- Trust His voice, His presence.

  4. so true. I am with Glenda with her comment about Ortberg's book. When we studied that series I first realized how much I was like the other disciples, hovering frighten in the boat. Peter was very brave to do what he did and to ask for permission. wow. I pray to have more courage like Peter.

  5. I love to ponder how the disciples (and I) forget what JESUS said in verse 22...He didn't say, "Go out into the lake and drown" but to go to the other side.

    If GOD tells us..."Go"..."Come"...He will surely help us do just that.

  6. I'm with Glenda...I thought of the same book...I recommend it, if you've never read it! It totally goes with this post!! Praying you'll stick with Faith in whatever decision you're trying to make!! ))HUGS((

  7. Ok, fourth time in the last day and a half that this story has come up...hello, what is God trying to tell me? For real. I think you are speaking to me.

  8. Jenny, I love this. It's so relevant, and you're right. Trusting God's provision often finds us straddling the line of faith and fear. Love it, love it. Thanks for sharing your insight - as always!

  9. I've thought about this a lot: "I never look at Peter with admiration for getting out of the boat in the first place." I've always assumed I would never have gotten out of the boat...but I don't know, maybe I am not giving God credit enough for helping to bridge that roiling space between faith and fear.

    I will pray for strength and wisdom, Jenny, as you struggle in this place.