"Walk On Water" Faith
by Kimberly B. Southall
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"You can walk on water." So go the lyrics of one song. Yeah, right. How many people have you seen walking on the water lately? That's what goes through one's mind when thinking about walking on water, even though we might not admit it, right? Well, maybe we just don't have the faith it takes to walk on the water. Hmmm. Jesus walked on the water. And so did Peter. Just what do those scriptures say about walking on water?
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." --Matthew 14:25-33 NIV (Also see Mark 6:47-52 and John 6:16-21)

There Jesus was, walking on the lake in the middle of a storm. It scared the disciples half to death; they thought he was a ghost. Jesus identified himself and then good ol' Peter, always the one to yearn for more spiritually, asked the "unthinkable." He wanted to walk on the water, too! Even more surprising, Jesus told him to do it! Wow! What do you suppose was going through the minds of the other disciples clinging to the boat for dear life? If you'd been in the boat, would you have asked to walk on the water in the middle of a raging storm? But Peter, He trusted Jesus; he had faith. He climbed over the side of the boat and walked toward Jesus on the water! Notice that it was when he looked at the wind and not at Jesus that he began to sink. And, of course, Jesus saved him. But let's think about the faith it took on Peter's part for him to walk on water. Think about it. Jesus didn't ask for someone to take an aquatic stroll with Him. It was Peter who asked for the privilege. He had faith in Jesus and wanted to be more like Him. Peter asked, received permission, and for a few moments, he did the unthinkable--he walked on the water! Jesus said that it was doubt (the opposite of faith) which caused Peter to begin to sink. Oh, if only we could rid ourselves of that doubt for a few moments like Peter did.

I once had a dream which I will never forget. Tears still come to my eyes every time I think about it. In the dream, I was standing on the shore of a huge lake. And my mother was alone in a row boat far from the shore. From where I stood, I watched in horror as she fell out of the boat. This would be a death sentence, because my mother cannot swim and I was much too far away to swim to her in time. In my despair I begged God to save her. I then remembered that Jesus and Peter had walked on the water, and I knew my mother was a woman of great faith. In the past, one of her prayers had resulted in my dying grandfather's pain being inexplicably removed, and another prayer of hers had resulted in my car being miraculously "pushed" up an icy hill one winter. I knew well that her faith in miracles exceeded mine. I knew it would have to this time, too, in order for her to survive. As she struggled, I called out to her as loudly as I could, "Mom, I can't get to you in time. You'll just have to walk on the water. You can do it if you have faith in God." And miraculously she heard me from that distance and God answered my fervent prayer. In my dream, my mother walked on the water.

Yes, it was only a dream. But in that dream--in my subconscious mind--I had the faith that my mother could walk on water. What if we could tap into that faith which dreams are made of? What if we had that kind of faith during our waking hours? That's the kind of faith Peter had. He dared to dream of being more like Jesus. He dreamed or imagined that he could walk on the water if Jesus said he could, and then he did it.

Was the ability to walk on water only granted to the disciples or those who lived in biblical times? I'm convinced that it wasn't. No, I haven't seen anyone do it (other than in my dreams), but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. Other miracles still abound. Have you ever considered the phenomenon of swimming? Yes, I said "phenomenon." Think about it. Why is it that one person can swim and another person can't? Why is it that a person can make his body stay afloat on top of the water or not--at will? Why is it that infants can float atop the water and yet when they are old enough to have fear of water, they sink? Did you ever give that any thought? Does anything in the human body change physically to allow a person to swim? No. It's "all in the mind," isn't it? It takes faith to be able to swim--not necessarily faith in God, but faith that one can perform the feat of swimming or floating. Interesting, isn't it? When we think about the fact that one can either sink or swim by whether or not he believes he can, then it isn't that much of a stretch for the imagination to realize that it wasn't surprising that Jesus could walk on the water. After all, His faith is surely greater than ours will ever be. And when Peter placed his faith in Jesus, he had that sort of faith too, even if it was for just a short while. Peter later applied this miraculous and powerful faith in many others areas. He healed people and even raised the dead (Acts 9:36-43).

Imagine what we could accomplish if we could apply that sort of faith in other areas of our lives. We could accomplish so much in God's kingdom. We could lead so many people to Christ. We could even move mountains (Matthew 17:20). If only we had "walk on water" faith.

Copyright © 2000 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.