Open Your Bible
Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 14:22-32, Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 22:54-62, John 21:15-19
Do it scared. This is a popular phrase today, one that shows up in books, podcasts, and hashtags. When I read the story of Peter fighting his way through the wind and waves, I’m reminded of this phrase and how it characterizes Peter’s faith-inspired action. But was “doing it scared” enough to sustain him on the water?
In this story, the disciple second-guesses his decision to join Jesus after observing the strength of the winds (Matthew 14:30). What was I thinking? That’s what I imagine him asking himself. No doubt, those winds felt stronger out on the surface of the water than back in the security of the boat. Wild and tempestuous, the winds circle the disciple, and his own fragility overtakes him. “Lord, save me!” he cries, feet plunging below the surface of the sea (v.30).
Notice how it isn’t the lack of steady ground that Peter fears most. After all, he’s the one who asks Jesus to invite him onto the water, after seeing Jesus model the physics-defying act. Only after venturing out onto the water does Peter’s confidence begin to waver, as he notices just how powerful the wind’s ability to topple him actually is. Although Peter trusts the Lord enough to risk walking on water, that same trust doesn’t sustain him once the obstacles around him begin gaining power.
But it took a lot of faith for Peter to step out of the boat, right? When Jesus says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v.31), we might think to ourselves, Goodness, that’s a lot more faith than I would have had. Can’t we give this guy a break? But Jesus’s words don’t appear to be accusatory. They are an expression of His care. After rescuing Peter by reaching out His hand, Jesus continues to invite the disciple into a life of deeper connection and trust as they journey together.
I’ll be the first to confess that I am forever taking my eyes off Jesus when I find myself in the midst of daunting situations. It’s easier to focus on the situation itself until it robs me of the very gifts meant to sustain me. You probably have your own courageous story of a time when you followed God, trust and confidence levels high, only to be met with fear and doubt further down the road.
Christ not only strengthens us to follow Him, but His strength can also keep us steadfast in the face of peril. We do have permission to cry out when we need help, though. Sometimes He intercedes immediately and calls the surrounding elements into submission—like the salty wind and cold and choppy waves. But sometimes He allows the environment to persist without plucking us from it because it has the ability to form us into His likeness.
No matter what is going on in your life, Christ knows when and how to save you. His rescue is not delayed. Like Peter, when we cry out, He will answer. Carry God’s strength with you today as you “do it scared,” and trust that He is enough to sustain you against the fury of a thousand winds.