Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Liquid Faith

Peter became the second man on earth to walk on water. You know the story. His liquid stroll didn't last long. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and his cork feet turned into lead weights. He sunk.

But what you didn't know about this story is what happened next. After Peter sunk and Jesus rescued him, they both headed toward the boat and were met by eleven judges. Each of the gunwale-gripping disciples held two square signs up. One for Jesus. One for Peter.

Jesus got 10's straight across the bow. Peter was looking at 3's, 4's, and one 5 (thanks to his generous brother, Andrew).

Before you think I've been reading from the gospel of Thomas, let me clarify. I made that part up. It's not in the Bible. But oh, isn't it in human nature? We hold others up to impossible standards and expect them to perform impossible human feats while we snack on sardines and sit back in judgment.

We are quick to criticize Peter in his drenched toga while our own remains dry from lack of involvement. It's easy to stand on the beach and point fingers at someone who falls off their surfboard when your board never touches water.

But all was not lost. Peter's short water-walking career was not in vain. Once Jesus and Peter were back in the boat, the wind calmed. "Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him (Jesus), saying, 'Truly You are the Son of God'" (Matthew 14:33).

Peter's small amount of faith increased the faith of the other disciples. Never be discouraged or distraught when you exercise faith. Even if your faith is two inches shorter than you thought it would be and you fall face first --- at least you tried. At least you believed.

Later that night, Peter's family gathered around him. Someone asked, "What was it like to walk on water?" Peter shrugged and said,
"I only walked on water for a few seconds. I should have kept going, but I panicked."

Peter's mother-in-law piped up,
"Simon Theodore Peter, not another man in history besides Jesus ever walked on water for a single second. I am proud of you! And as long as you keep jumping out of boats believing you can do something, I will proudly say, 'That's MY son-in-law!'"

Two tents down, Judas told the story of Peter's attempt to walk on water. His family gathered around him as he told of Peter sinking. Judas held his stomach in laughter and described the look on Peter's face as he stood in the boat soaking wet.

While Judas was doubled over in laughter, his young son pulled on his daddy's toga and asked,
"Daddy, how far did YOU walk on the water?"

Wet faith is better than dry fear.

Perry Crisp

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