Calling Out in a Time of Doubt
“And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:29-33).
Doubt happens. Even in the life of the believer, doubt can arise seemingly out of nowhere. It’s in these times of doubt that we begin to sink spiritually. We lose trust in the finished work of Christ, and as the waves around us swell higher, we become more and more afraid. This is exactly what happened to Peter, the chief disciple of Christ.
In Matthew 14, we see great faith in Peter arise out of fear when he sees Jesus walking on the water, even through the storm. He was calling to them, telling them to be of good cheer, and not to be afraid. Surely, in the midst of life’s storms, when we catch a glimpse of Jesus, faith arises! Peter’s faith prompted him to cry out to Jesus: “Lord, if it’s You, bid me to come to You on the water!” This confidence is excellent, and an example of what our faith should be. However, it’s what happened next that’s crucial for us to understand in times of doubt.
Despite the great faith of Peter, and the miraculous result of him walking on water, the storm continued to rage. How many times in our own lives have we had great experiences of faith and blessing even in the middle of a storm? Yet these blessings don’t always calm the storm. With the winds pushing the waves over our heads, it’s all too easy to take our eyes off of our Saviour and become afraid of what could happen to us. This doubt—this lack of trust in our Saviour’s power to save—will hinder the flow of grace that we need, and the result is that we will sink. This sinking often feels like the end of the story, but it’s really just the beginning.
Peter never sank all the way. The Bible says he “began” to sink. Why didn’t he sink all the way? Let’s take a look at what happened immediately after he began to sink: “beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” He cried out to Jesus while he was sinking. He trusted that Jesus had the power to deliver him, and instead of fighting and trying, he cried out in faith instead.
When you’re sinking, don’t forget this: you don’t have to get a proper foothold on the water again or try to close the gap between you and Jesus. If you’ll simply cry out to Him for help, He will close the gap Himself, stretch forth His hand immediately and catch you, and bring you back to safety. When giving up seems to be the best or only option, then cry out in faith even louder! Due to what Jesus did on the cross, He is well able to save you to the uttermost. Don’t be afraid.
No matter how far you’ve sunk, if you’ll do what Peter did, then Jesus will do what He did once again. As He did for Peter, He’ll do for you. And after Jesus catches you, He’ll cause you to realize that there truly was no reason to doubt all along.
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