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Cry Out To Jesus

In Peter’s moment of weakness, he cried out to Jesus. In Peter’s moment of weakness, Jesus “reached out his hand and caught him.”

May 22, 2011- An EF5 multiple-vortex tornado devastated Joplin, claiming the lives of 161 people. You only need to catch a glimpse of this kind of destruction to understand the power of the wind. A crude estimate of the number of wind turbines that would be needed to power the United States for a year using only the wind: 583,000. These wind turbines would fill a space about the size of Rhode Island. All issues about cost and practicality aside, when we look at these numbers, it is easier to understand the power of the wind.

Now allow me to go back 2,000 years to the Sea of Galilee. The disciples of Jesus strained at the oars because the power of the wind and the resulting waves raged against them as they sailed toward their destination, Bethsaida. Hours ago, they had left Jesus alone to pray, and they likely believed that he would meet them at their destination at a later point.

Amidst the chaos of the rushing wind and the towering waves, they saw a figure in the distance approaching them. But this figure was walking on water. Not having any prior experience with people walking on water (understandably), the terrified disciples thought that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear.

Jesus said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

A frequent spokesman for the disciples, Peter spoke up first. He replied to Jesus “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” After a simple affirmation from Jesus, this bold disciple climbed out of the boat, and he literally started to walk on the water towards Jesus. Up until moments before, he had never seen anyone walk on the water. Now, Peter himself was walking on the water. Impossible! The power of the wind and the waves was working against Peter, yet still he walked, unabashedly, toward his savior.

But. (Yes, we’re about to talk about buts on a church blog post). This particular story does not end with Peter’s bold act of faith. The Greek conjunction “δέ” used right here is commonly translated as the English word “but” in this particular passage. The gospel writer Matthew writes the following account: “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’” In contrast to his bold faith seconds before, Peter became suddenly afraid when he saw the power of the wind. He knew Jesus’ power, but he got distracted by the power of everything working against this amazing miracle.

Yet we still find hope. Even in his moment of doubt, Peter still cried out to the only one he knew who could truly save him from the danger at hand. In Peter’s moment of weakness, he cried out to Jesus. In Peter’s moment of weakness, Jesus “reached out his hand and caught him.”

Are there circumstances in your life that make you experience doubt? Does the power of the “winds” in your life cause you to lose your focus on the one who has the ultimate power over those “winds?” Do you doubt Jesus’ ability or desire to save you or your loved ones? In the inevitable times that we all experience doubt in the power of Jesus, what are we to do? What does this story of Peter’s failure show us about what to do when we have reached what seems like the end of the line?

Like Peter, we must simply start by crying out to Jesus.

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