“Come on Che, you can do it! Just jump!” My older sister called to me from the other side of the swimming pool. I stood on the diving board, my toes curled over the edge, staring at the water below. My stomach churned with butterflies. I bent my knees to spring forward, but immediately a wave of fear shot through me and I straightened up.
“Don’t be a chicken, Che. It’s fun! I’ll get you. JUMP!” For another moment I teetered between excitement and fear, and then I just let go and jumped. For a split second, terror took over as I felt the water surge over my head, and then suddenly I bobbed to the surface. Dog paddling fiercely I yelled to my sister, “I did it! I dived!” I must have jumped off that diving board at least 100 more times that afternoon, each time reliving the thrill of conquering my fear.
All of us have experienced situations where we want to proceed, but hesitate with apprehension. In that stressful moment we decide if our future course of action will be determined by trust in the desired outcome or whether fear will dominate and back us down.
The apostle Peter faced such a moment one night on Lake Galilee. He was in a boat with the other disciples, and they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. Something in that situation excited Peter, and he wanted to experience walking on the water himself. When Jesus told him to come, Peter overcame his fear and boldly stepped on that water and began walking to Jesus. But there was a lot of wind, and Peter became afraid and began to sink. Jesus reached out and saved him, asking: “Peter, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22–33)
We frequently retell this story emphasizing the fact that Peter lost his focus on Christ and began to sink. But I wonder how Peter relived that event. Did he always feel like a failure because he sank or did he remember the exhilaration of boldly stepping on the water and walking?
A few years later we see a completely different Peter outside the Temple gate with the apostle John. He saw a lame man begging, and without hesitation firmly told him, “I do not have any silver or gold to give you. But what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” However, Peter didn’t stop there. Boldly he reached out, grasped the man’s hand and pulled him up, fully expecting him to be healed and walk. And that’s precisely what happened! (Acts 3:1–26)
I wonder if his earlier experience in walking on water helped Peter understand how to confidently choose faith not fear. Father God calls all of us to live life boldly in faith, overcoming our fears. He commands us to do things that require complete trust in Him. Oftentimes we must defy our reason, ignore the fear that hounds us, and like Peter on the Galilee, step forward boldly in faith when we hear Jesus say, “Come!”
One such command is to lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. We seldom see this practiced in the church today. Too many Christians are afraid of being embarrassed and failing. But if we never risk stepping out boldly and trusting Father God’s word, how will we ever experience the exhilaration of seeing someone healed?
Please join us this Sunday morning at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. We are continuing our series on “Healing the Sick,” and my sermon is “Creating an Atmosphere of Faith Part II.” You are also invited to our 2:30 PM healing service where we give everyone an opportunity to pray for the sick.