Walking, Sinking, or Swimming?

I’m currently reading an awesome book on the life of Peter, called Fragile Stone by Michael Card.  I’m a little over halfway through it, and it is definitely giving me some sweet food for thought!

This evening’s reading brought to my attention two different times that Peter gets out of a boat to come to Jesus.  The first takes place during the famous storm in which Peter walks on water for a short distance, then sinks.  The second time is after Jesus had risen from the tomb, and was stirring the coals of a fire on the beach, roasting some fish for breakfast.  In both instances, Peter leaves the safety of the boat. Both events demonstrate Peter’s desire to be near Jesus. But the second “man overboard” event shows something that stirs my heart.

When Peter walked on water, he was still trying to get an idea of what Jesus was really all about.  Scripture shows signs that he, at this point, did not really understand the mission and purpose of Jesus as The Messiah.  That realization was solidified in Peter’s heart, I think, only after Jesus revealed Himself to Peter after the resurrection.  So, we have a man who is still trying to feel out whom it was he was following.  Peter shows that he had a certain measure of faith by climbing out of the boat and walking probably several steps.  But he also demonstrates what I can relate to, an overwhelming fear that sometimes shuts down my faith. 

Every one of us is on a faith journey, a progression from crawling as an infant in Christ, to hopefully running as a man or woman “in the race set before us,” in an ever-growing, dynamic relationship with Jesus.  Peter here in the walking on water episode, I think, is closer to his spiritual “cradle” than he is to spiritual adulthood.  But the second event we are shown is a beautiful picture of a man who has painfully grown by leaps and bounds in his level of faith and understanding and intimacy with Jesus.

While the disciples were out on the boat that post-resurrection morning, they see about 100 yards away a smoldering fire and a figure next to it on the shore.  The man shouts out a suggestion to toss their net on the other side of the boat.  Just as soon as they did, the net creaked and groaned with the pull of over a hundred fish!  Perhaps in an out-of-breath spurt, John says, “It is the Lord.”  Without hesitation, Peter puts on his fishing coat and dives overboard. 

I’m sure Simon Peter swam harder and faster than he ever had in his life!  Known for being passionate in all he did, Peter had one thing in mind: I have to be with Jesus!  He knew that he had been forgiven by the suffering Messiah. He knew that Jesus still called him friend. He knew that he was still included in the ranks of the disciples.  He knew that he had not been denied by the One he denied three times.  But above all, He knew that he wanted to be right there on the beach with Jesus. 

That’s the picture of spiritual maturity right there.  Show me a man or woman who abandons all and passionately runs (or swims) to see Jesus, and that is a person who is growing up in Christ. 

I have to stop and ask myself, “am I walking, sinking, or swimming right now?”  And, perhaps a better question, “why am I not jumping overboard and swimming hard after Jesus every day in prayer, Bible study, worship, and meditation?”

Some possible answers:

I’m lazy. I’m busy. I’m tired. I’m depressed. I just need quality, not quantity time with Jesus. I’m bored with my walk. I don’t need to be legalistic about spending time with Him. I’m afraid of having to change. Does it really make a difference?

Regardless of what my excuses are or yours, my prayer is that we’d both become like Peter, although there’s definitely pain and discomfort in Peter’s story. My prayer is that we can honestly sing the words to this beautiful song from our hearts:

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
When I am alone,
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I come to die,
When I come to die,
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “Walking, Sinking, or Swimming?

  1. B,
    Sounds like by your comments and your past blogs you’re the type of guy that the book is describing. Don’t be hard on yourself. Jesus is looking for someone who is trying not just sitting back doing nothing.

    Dave

  2. I love this statement you made: “Show me a man or woman who abandons all and passionately runs (or swims) to see Jesus, and that is a person who is growing up in Christ.” and Dave is right, it seems the book is describing you.

    Have you ever read “The Gutter” by Craig Gross? You might like that book, it’s one of my favorites but it talks about similar things as you’ve stated above I think.

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