You feel sometimes like you’re standing in quicksand, trying to set up a life there. Maybe not even a life– maybe just a little tent for a couple of nights, but where do you hammer the pegs? And meanwhile you’re sinking.
Of course, we’re not called to build our lives on quicksand. We sing it with the little children– The wise man built his house upon the rock! The trouble is that sometimes the rock is there, in the quicksand. And we’re too busy flailing around, trying to nail tent pegs to shifting ground, trying to save ourselves, that we never think to just let our feet sink a few more inches and discover that firm foundation.
The same Man who told us to build our houses on the rock also told Peter to step out of the boat, to ignore the waves and the storm, the wind and the crashing of the thunder, all the pounding of his own heart, and to come. We’ve heard the story a hundred times. We forget, when we’re sinking in the quicksand of uncertainty or drowning in an ocean of sorrow or being battered by a hurricane of crises we can’t handle, we forget that we are Peter.
We are Peter, stepping out so confidently, asking Jesus to let us come, to invite us on this epic faith walk across stormy seas.
We are Peter, taking a few steps and being amazed at what we can do when Jesus calls us to do it.
We are Peter– I am Peter— finding my view of Jesus obscured by rain and hair blown fiercely across my eyes.
I am Peter, nervously remembering that what I’m doing isn’t possible, that nobody can walk on water, that I am surrounded on ever side by waves of water.
I am Peter, taking my eyes off the Faithful One who called me, looking instead at the wild storm, listening to the voice of the wind that howls the ridiculous audacity of one who would step out and whispers that nobody can save me now.
I am Peter, sinking so quickly. Oh ye of little faith.
It is always Jesus who saves. Always Jesus who answers that most desperate plea for help as the waters swallow us. It is always this Faithful Son of God who is there the moment we cry out, with a steady hand. We gasp and choke and spit out water and suck in air, all undignified and broken and desperate again. And there He is.
We walk by faith, not by sight.
Sight shrieks out Warning! Warning! Waves! Water! Wind! Storm! WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU IDIOT? NOBODY CAN WALK ON WATER!!!
Faith answers back, He who called me is faithful. Faith believes that under the surface of the wild storm there is a foundation no one can shake. Faith steps out, eyes on Jesus, even when His face is dimmed by darkness and rain and wind and the spray of the sea.
Faith builds the house on the quicksand, if that’s where God commands, knowing that there is rock beneath.
I am Peter– calling in desperation, always being answered, learning so slowly, discovering this:
There is no safer place than the roughest sea, no more joyful experience than walking, even for a moment, on the wild waves, because the One who calls me is faithful.