I really dislike failing – I’m not sure if I’m a perfectionist or just scared of failure. I find the disciple Peter fascinating as he just didn’t seem to think anything through. In fact when faced with Jesus walking towards him on the water Peter thinks that it would be a great idea to join him.
Matthew 14:25-31 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Now if you put me in the same position as Peter you’ll find me thinking, ‘That’s cool; I hope he doesn’t expect me to do that’! When I was little I briefly took up gymnastics, but my career was ended when I attended the display evening for the parents – I thought I was pretty good at forward rolls and walking with pointed toes in my striped leotard. But when I caught sight of the big beams and the bars I was inconsolable thinking that I would be expected to perform on these, not realizing that they older girls would be doing so. Peter and I are so different – he was prepared to risk a belly flop whereas I would prefer some inflatable armbands and some practice time at the paddling pool before a public performance.
I’m sure that there were many a time that Jesus couldn’t resist laughing at Peter – one so sure of his faith that he would rush in where angels feared to tread. But he would be laughing at him with joy for Peters’ faith allowed him to dare to take a risk, even if he failed. I need to learn from Peter for Hebrews 11.6 says:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Faith pleases God, it makes him smile to see us depend on Him and to trust in His power rather than our own. When Peter stepped onto the water he did not believe that he had mastered the art of water walking, but he did believe that God would be able to keep him dry. I need to develop a faith that is dependent on God’s abilities rather than on my own: Faith that is prepared to risk failure or a belly flop.
Check out other devotions on pleasing God at Rachel Olsen’s devotional carnival