In The Same Boat: Peter, the Master and Me
Being on a boat is high on my list of things not to do. I can admire them from afar, but up close and personal, it is not where I want to be. For a long time now, boats and I have had a love/hate relationship. I love to watch them drifting in the distance; but being on one, feeling every wave, every shake and shimmy is something I hate to do.
By the same token, boats love to peer at me standing on dry land and I imagine them smiling appreciatively that I chose not to be on board. Sensing every motion as it pulls on something in the pit of my stomach, I know they would hate having me on board, as well.
My last experience on a boat was on a fishing outing with my husband. The Apache was docked in City Island and was quickly filling up with old men who were excitedly preparing for their beloved weekly fishing excursion. I was the only lady to board that day. Excitement was not etched on my face; only the fear of impending sea sickness and perhaps, even death by fear.
As the sun was coming up over the horizon, The Apache set out towards Montauk Point on the Long Island Sound, where the catch of the day would be porgies and blackfish. As the only lady on the boat, I was quickly adopted as everyone’s daughter. The men helped me bait my hooks, gave me tips on knowing when to pull the line and even clean the large fish that I caught. With so much activity on the boat, I didn’t realize that I was actually having a good time. Fear had subsided. Nausea had been relieved.
Reminiscing about my experience fishing that day, I am drawn to the story about Peter, the Big Fisherman himself. Peter loved the Lord. Reading about accounts of his life in the Bible and in other books has helped to encourage me in my new walk in Jesus. I like to think that I share some of the same qualities that Peter had. He was committed to following Jesus. I have committed my life to Him, as well. His strong will set him apart from others. I am the only Christian in my family. I know that my will, though weak at time, if I trust in the Lord, He will carry me. At times, I think it’s safe to say, he was downright ornery. All of these qualities were what drew Jesus to Peter. He could use these characteristics for His kingdom.
I am drawn to the story of Peter and the other disciples on the boat. A sudden storm serves to test their faith in the Master. Amidst high winds, thunder and lightning, Peter can see Jesus, in the distance, walking on the water. Peter, wanting to be like his Lord, asks Jesus to let him do the same. This was a decision that he made, to leave the safety of the boat and despite the raging storm around him, he would trust in the Lord. Peter faced the challenge of fear, doubt and even death to go to the Lord. He took the step of faith and climbed out of the boat.
While Peter kept his eyes on the Master, he miraculously walked on the water. Mistakenly taking his focus off the Lord, and taking notice of the crashing waves around him, he gave in to his fear and doubt. He began to sink. But he had enough sense to call out to the only one who could help him, JESUS.
Peter saw something in the Master. He saw a vision and a purpose for his life. He realized that in Jesus, in the face of the violent storms of life all around him, he found safety in the arms of the Lord. He knew that if he kept his focus on the Master, no matter what level of storm around him, he could withstand whatever trial came his way. Yet he learned, in the midst of the storm, that if he worried about what tossed him to and fro, if he tried to save himself, he would perish.
The Master also saw something in Peter. He saw his heart. Peter had a passion for the Lord and for His cause. As a fisherman, Jesus used him with what Peter knew best, the sea. “I will make you a fisher of men”, is what Jesus said to him. Peter one of the greatest evangelists of the Bible brought many souls to the Lord.
The Master saw the zeal with which Peter did his job; the devotion he had towards his family and the love he had for his country. Jesus knew that he could use Peter.
When Jesus looks into my heart I hope He sees something that He could use for His kingdom. I pray that He could find something in me worthy of using to bring souls to the Lord.
As I fished that day long ago on the Long Island Sound, I found help in my distress and fear. I was adopted into a family of fishermen. Like these wonderful men, who loved being on the water, Peter loved being in the mission field fishing for souls for the Lord. I remember seeing the reflection of the sun on the water and know that even then, the Master had His hand on my life.
I learned many lessons on the water that day. Little did I know that they would hold true in my life today. I learned lessons about passion and livelihood; lessons about being a part of something that is bigger than I. The story of Peter and the Master in the face of the storm serves to teach a valuable lesson about keeping our eyes on the only one who can save us.
As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we are all in the same boat with Peter. During those raging storms in our lives, if we look closely through the rain and winds, we can make out the Master calling us. Just as the Lord told the gale winds to be still, He is telling our hearts to be still and know that He is in control.