Colleen Mallette hopes to imitate Peter’s brave faith while coping with ongoing changes during this pandemic.
Last month we heard a story from the Gospel of Matthew proclaimed: Jesus walked on the water toward the disciples who were struggling to control their boat during a storm. After the fishermen realized it was their friend Jesus walking toward them, Peter wanted to try to join Him on the rocky lake. Most people when they hear this story think poorly of Peter because he lost his faith and started sinking in the churning lake.
But my favorite part of this story is what happened before that: “Peter stepped out of the boat” (Matthew 14:29). Peter had the courage, bravery, and faith to take that first step. He believed enough in His Lord to climb over the edge of the safety of his boat with the faith that he could walk on the wavy water if Jesus said he could.
If I looked out on the rocky lake I don’t think I would have the courage to get out of the boat. Even if I believed that was Jesus out there walking on the water, I would probably stay put until He made His way to us and not even think about trying to get out and join Him.
In this current tumultuous time of our crazy 2020 year, when some children are returning to school, some people are having to look for new careers, and volunteering and even attending church isn’t as simple and straightforward as usual, coping and moving forward takes a lot of courage and faith.
We need to boldly step out of the comfort of our homes sometimes to serve others and enable our children to be safe yet strong with the new limitations at school. We need to be like Peter and be willing to take a leap of faith, even when it’s scary and new. Our family is coping with a return to work in a very different environment due to COVID, a daughter returning to college under very strict new rules and mostly online classes, and the insecurity of returning to volunteering at our local Christian Pregnancy Center.
Just as Jesus told Peter not to be afraid and to come to Him, He wants us to be reassured that He will always be with us and help us. Jesus is master over the chaos and churning uncertainty that surrounds us. With just a word He can calm any storm. God is within our reach through our prayers; we have only to ask Him. He will release us from fear, encourage our confidence, and build our strength to conquer these new waters of school, job, church, illnesses.
Peter conquered his fear, stepped out of the boat, kept his eyes on Jesus, and actually walked on the water. As long as his eyes were set on Jesus, Peter was able to do what is humanly impossible. But with God, as we know, anything is possible (Matthew 19:26). That is, until we get scared, doubtful of God’s presence like Peter did when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked down at the swirling, unstable floor he was walking on.
That’s what happens when we listen too long to the contradictory, unclear news stations. Or we hear that different schools are handling the return in very different ways and question what our child’s school is doing. Or we get upset when we see someone without a mask on and fear our exposure to the coronavirus. Or we think too much about the duration of this pandemic and try to predict the long-term ramifications on our family.
We need to be like Peter, turning off those distracting, anxious thoughts and just taking that first step out of the boat. We need to look up at Jesus and pray to Him for protection, courage, and an increase in faith to do right and do our part to live in a godly way.
After realizing he was sinking into the lake, faithful Peter did the right thing and immediately cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14: 30). Which Jesus did right away and together they walked on water to get back into the boat. We, too, are bound to slip up and let anxiety control our thoughts and actions once in a while. If we are like Peter, though, we will not let those last long before reaching out to God for support. Arrow prayers, memorized Scripture verses that remind us of God’s promises, memories of other circumstances when God brought us through them, and even this story about Peter can help us recover in the times when we struggle.
Peter may have faltered briefly in his faith, but not only did he recover quickly by reaching right out to God, he was brave enough to take that first step out of the boat to begin with. Our family has also taken our first steps in faith by going back to work, moving back to college, and reaching out to the Pregnancy Center.
May you too be like Peter and take your first steps out of the boat, trusting in Jesus to be there for you along the way, especially if the storm kicks up again.
Copyright 2020 Colleen Mallette
Image: Pixabay (2015)
About the Author
Colleen lives in Ohio and is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through CatholicMom.com. Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.