You can’t save yourself

Matthew 14:29-30

“Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” NIV

I love this story.

This week, I’ve been feeling a lot like Peter.

He got down out of the boat and walked on water … astounding.  I heard a lesson earlier this week during which the speaker challenged us to set a goal for ourselves that only God can achieve.

A goal that only God achieve … walking on water.

It is interesting to me that Peter was not astonished by his ability to overcome the laws of physics.  He asked Jesus to perform a miracle, Jesus delivered, and Peter stepped out on faith.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.

Wind is something he had seen all his life … and THAT was what worried him?  So interesting.  The God of the universe had given Peter an amazing gift, and yet, he cannot overcome his own understanding of how things work to accept it.  He was willing to walk on water … but the wind was somehow beyond God’s control in his mind.

How often do we do that?

We set a goal for ourselves that only God can achieve … absent blind faith we would never attempt it.  We move forward in faith and experience God’s blessings, and then we allow ourselves to be derailed by the trivial.

WHY DO WE DO THAT?

Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” NIV

We are so trapped by the physical — our perspectives are so framed by our own limitations — that this verse is one that is difficult to truly comprehend.  Even Peter fell victim to his own perspective, at a time when he was experiencing the greatest of miracles.

I was talking to my sister yesterday.  We share many things, among them, a great frustration with the Israelites as we read the Old Testament.  When it is all laid out there in black and white … when we can read about the promises God made and fulfilled, and the miracles that He consistently worked on their behalf … why is the Old Testament filled with stories of their doubt of Him?

I think it is because we are human … we are imperfect … we don’t have God’s perspective or His wisdom … we’re not meant to.  We are trapped by time, and this tumultuous existence unfolds for us moment by amazing moment.

We see the wind and it frightens us, regardless of whatever current miracle we might be experiencing.

The most important part of this example is the last part of verse 30.  Peter knew what to do.  He cried out to God … “Lord, save me!”  He knew he could not save himself.

I know that, too.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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2 Comments

Filed under Fear, Matthew, New Testament, Worry

2 responses to “You can’t save yourself

  1. Great blog! One of my many favourite books is John Ortberg’s “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat”
    If we want to really experience God’s best for us, we need to step out of our comfort zone, putting our complete trust and dependence on the One who is able and willing and desirous to use us to continue His work on earth. We need to keep our focus on Him, ignoring the storms which will rage around us.

    I believe some of the saddest words in the Bible are “They limited the Holy One of Israel” Isn’t it sad that WE are the ONLY ones of God’s creation who can choose not to submit to His authority? The ocean, the storm, demons, death – all have no power to resist. Yet we, who know more of His love and provision, and the REALITY of His presence and undertaking, do so so easily.

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