Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: No Need To Sink
By Joshua Janoski
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“It’ll be alright, Andrew. This isn’t the first time we’ve braved stormy weather in a boat.” James said. “We just need to row a little bit faster. We have to try and get to shore as quickly as possible.”
I gripped my oars tight and pushed my body forward in tandem with the other rowers. The anticipation of the brewing storm breathed life into this otherwise uneventful boat trip. The trip followed in the shadow of a very powerful and exciting event. The twelve of us witnessed the multitudes being fed from just a meager serving of fish and bread. It had become common for us to see such miracles while traveling with Jesus. At times, I felt privileged to be able to keep company with Him. However, at this very moment, as I moved my arms in a circular motion and looked up at the dark clouds forming above my head, I was reminded that I had been just a simple fisherman before He came to me and said, “Follow.”
“Brace yourselves! Here it comes!” John yelled, as a wave sprang up from the sea and smashed its face into the side of our boat. Our bodies wrenched as we tried to maintain control of the vessel and continue rowing. The current’s swiftness swept underneath us and negated our efforts to get to shore. The violent wind propelled the tides over our craft, stinging our faces with salty seawater.
“We are going to die!” Thomas screamed, as we continued to waver across the dark waters.
I tried to maintain my poise, though deep down I felt just as scared as my brethren. I continued to row with all of my might as fierce blasts of air continued to ram the wooden vessel.
“Look out there to the west! Something is approaching!” Philip roared.
Twelve pairs of eyes looked out in the distance at a white shape fluttering in the wind. Twelve mouths screamed in fright at the sight of the figure forthcoming.
“It’s a ghost!” we all cried as our boat continued to toss up and down. The darkness of the sky made it impossible to see anything except for what was immediately around us. As the dark figure got closer, all we could see was a white robe hovering over the sea. This robe gently fluttered despite the power of the intense winds. A dark silhouette surrounded the mysterious figure who spoke…
"Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
The voice sounded like that of Jesus, but I was not entirely convinced that it was him. I needed to be sure.
"Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." I said.
“Come,” He said to me.
“Are you crazy, Peter? What if you drown out there? What if it isn’t Jesus speaking to you? Don’t do something stupid.” Thomas said.
I managed to get both legs out the side of the boat where the figure stood. I prepared myself for the plunge into the water, as I stood upright…
I didn’t fall in! I thought to myself as I looked down at my sandaled feet. Both rested on top of the water. I hesitantly took one small step and then another. This was unbelievable!
Concentrate Peter. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. You know it’s Him out there. How else could you be doing this?
I kept my eyes on Jesus.
I was halfway to Him when suddenly the wind tried to topple me over. I tried to keep looking directly into his eyes.
Stay focused…don’t look away.
Was this even possible? No man has ever walked on water before! I must be dreaming. I looked down to see the waves rolling beneath me. Suddenly, I plunged into the sea. My arms flailed as I attempted to surface for air.
“Jesus, save me!” I cried out, as my head poked out of the water. I felt His hand grab hold of mine and lift me up.
"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” were His words as He laid me into the boat. The sea calmed, but my heart pounded.
I learned an important lesson that day. No longer was I going to concentrate on the storms in my life. My eyes were going to look to the one who would never let me sink.
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