Wineskins Archive

February 5, 2014

Lord! Save Us! (Sep-Dec 2004)

Filed under: — @ 1:50 pm and

by Greg Taylor
September – December 2004

The boat is pitching. Waves crash in and you’re sinking. A massive storm has swept in, and you’re caught in the middle of the lake. You’re terrified and start to hallucinate: a ghost appears to be hovering over the water. You wipe sheets of water from your eyes with one hand and with the other squeeze the edge of the boat with a vise grip. The ghost comes closer and you scream.

The ghost says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Ghosts don’t say things like this. You recognize this to be the man you’ve entrusted your future to, the one who will restore Israel to glory and free your people.

You shout to the man, “If it is you, command me to come to you!”

He says simply, “Come.”

Matthew tells the rest of this episode about you like this:

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:29-31)

Much is made of your doubt in this story, Peter. You’d defend yourself but too many times you’ve fallen. Do your eyes still water up when you think how you could have stood by your friend when he was on trial? You’ve been sifted like wheat, ground up like grain between two heavy stones. Do the words, “You of little faith,” still make you wince?

Just like you, Peter, we’ve proudly thought we were walking on water, following the Lord. Then we saw what deathly winds were doing to our lives. We panicked and in desperation cried out. We felt the scorn of our boat-mates who seemed to mock our defeat. We think we know something of how you felt, Peter.

Perhaps the people in the boat didn’t hear you cry out when you were sinking, but Jesus did and held out his redeeming hands and caught you. You didn’t cry out to Poseidon to save you, nor did you call to your brothers in the boat. You said, “Lord! Save me!”

Was this how God prepared you to lead the Israelites through the cloud and the sea at Pentecost? You begged our people to be delivered from this corrupt generation. And our people held out their hands with a desperate cry of their own.

So you know, don’t you Peter, how desperate we are. You, too, were drowning and Jesus lifted you up. Maybe you were teaching us that gasping and reaching and calling on the Lord is that drop of faith that Jesus longs to see in us.

Lord! Save us!New Wineskins

Greg TaylorGreg Taylor is managing editor of NEW Wineskins. He is author of the newly released novel, High Places (Leafwood, 2004). He is also co-author with John Mark Hicks of Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work.

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