Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lord, Increase My Faith

At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them [the disciples in the boat] walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid." Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come ahead." But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!" Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" ("Your faith is so small!" he said. "Why did you doubt me?" (NIRV)) The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!" Matthew 14:25-33 - The Message

Have you ever found yourself alone and afraid? Or even in a moment in life where you were vulnerable to danger or despair? I can remember as I was growing up when my parents started leaving me briefly “home alone” on occasions. It was a good learning experience and a way to develop my independence and maturity. But at times, especially after dark, my mind started creating scenarios and events that likely would not happen, but filled me with fear regardless. If I acted properly and my parents saw that I could be trusted, then they would continue to trust me with bigger and better things – more responsibility. If I acted improperly and my parents learned that I could not be trusted, then it would be a while before they would trust me with this responsibility again. This is great learning tool that can be taught and practiced by parents to help train their kids up in the Lord. And, I believe it is also a tool used by our heavenly father to His children even today.

By reading a few verses that preceded the above text in Matthew 14, we find that Jesus and the disciples had a huge day. It was already getting late in the day even before Jesus had fed the 5,000 men and their families. But even after the supper that more than likely took a few hours, Jesus told the disciples to “go on ahead of him” v. 22 by boat to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Jesus then dismissed the crowd and went up on a mountain alone to pray. It was dark. Here at this time, Jesus had purposely left his disciples alone, vulnerable and even possibly afraid. Jesus may have even stirred up the winds that now were pushing the boat all around, and were also stirring up the sea and tossing the boat up and down.

Why would Jesus possibly do this or cause this to happen? (If he did in fact plan this – and I’m only guessing that he did) Jesus could possibly be testing his closest follower’s faith. He had just miraculously fed over 5,000 people, maybe double that number due to the women and children. Had they even noticed this miracle? Or had they quickly forgotten his concern and care for this crowd because now they were facing a real storm in their lives. That’s my best guess. Jesus was no where to be seen, they were alone, in a boat, on the water, in a wind storm, with large waves crashing all around. I’d be scared too. But then again, Jesus might also rebuke me in the same way as he did his disciples, “Your faith is small, and why did you doubt me?”

Please note, that Jesus did not call them faithless or without faith. But Jesus rebuked them for their forgetfulness, since they were a witness to many miraculous events by his own hand. Even though Jesus had left them alone for a time, and allowed troubled waters to buffet them and bring about fear, Jesus was there. Even further, Peter boldly tested this ghost’s claim of being Jesus, by saying something rash and impetuous. “If you are Jesus, command me to come to you. Because I know my Jesus would not let me sink and drown.” The ghost said, “Come.” Peter gets out and makes his way to this ghost. “It’s going pretty good so far. Wait a second,” Peter said, “I’m walking on water. This can’t be right.” And he starts to sink. The moment Peter starts to think, he starts to sink. The closer Peter got to Jesus, his more his faith was leaving him. Jesus was there. As soon as Peter cried out to Jesus, Jesus immediately reached “down” and gripped him, lifting him up out of the water, placing his feet on the water, and holding him as they walked to the boat. Jesus was there.

Now I wonder, if this story were to be repeated later in Peter’s life, how would it play out? I believe Peter and the others learned a great deal that night. I believe that Peter and the others learned to trust Jesus to save them, in good times or bad. I believe that their faith grew greatly that night so that they would not doubt Jesus that way again. How about you? How about me? Do I feel like I’m being tested? Do I know or remember that God is always there for me? Isaiah 59:1. Do I remember God’s promise that He will hear those who call Him in truth? Psalms 145:18. I’m also learning that God brings His children up with proper and righteous training. God’s working on me and others. James 1:2-4 I pray that I might be strengthened, that my faith and reliance upon God will grow, and that I might pass the test and be blessed even more abundantly afterward.

If I can learn to trust God to take care of me, to put my complete trust and faith in him, to seek after the kingdom of God and after His righteousness, then God will bless me with all I need. Matthew 6:33. Matthew 6:25-34.


  1. That was awesome Paul. Thanks so much, that really spoke to me, especially right now.

  2. Thank you for challenging all of us with this post!

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  4. I really loved this--I will keep it and read it to my kids as well as myself frequently.

  5. I heard a great comment the other day while listening to the radio... Adrian Rogers said, "Faith, like film is developed in the dark." Our faith cannot grow without the blackness of the dark to give it shape. Lord, be with us in dark times, and meet us on the other side with your light.

  6. Thank You, This post reminded me that i am not the only one going through these as the enemy claiming. oh Lord, forgive my weekness of faith. Help us to refocus on you again... Amen.

  7. Thank you, Paul! This gentle reminder was timely and very helpful in my time of wavering faith. I appreciate your insight and supply of scriptures. Thank you for helping me achieve a Selah moment amongst trials and tribulations that were meant for me to build faith and patience, not stress and worry.