Okay, I’ve started reading a highly recommended book by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. Actually, all I’ve done so far is carry it around intending to read it. I’m not sure what’s causing the delay of delving into it’s pages. Perhaps it’s the title. Why would anyone get out of a perfectly good boat? You see, my husband and I are boaters. It has been my experience that it is usually much better to be in the boat. Also, let’s not take the boat exiting process for granted. Depending on the size of your boat, your method of getting out of it while on water may be less than graceful. Maneuvers such as having to hurl oneself backward off a small dingy, jumping from a slippery ledge, leaping out over a bow or sliding off a swim platform may be needed. All of these techniques lend themselves to numerous possibilities for mishaps and swimsuit displacement. If there is not a swim ladder involved, I don’t think I will like getting “out of the boat”.
Before I venture into the challenge of Ortberg’s book I feel I need to revisit the Scriptural account of Peter’s water walking experience. Hard to believe a man like Peter, who as a fisherman must have been an avid boater, would find it necessary to get out of a perfectly good boat so far from shore.
Matthew 14:25-33 is a fairly short telling of what must have been a very long night. The events went a bit like this:
- disciples set out in a boat
- Jesus to join them later
- waves make boat trip unpleasant
- disciples see figure walking toward them sans boat
- they fear
- He calms,
- Peter questions
- He calls (this is where it gets interesting)
- Peter gets out of boat!
What was he thinking?! Much is said about how Peter eventually required saving when he looked not at Jesus, but at the circumstances around him. Jesus even called him “of little faith”. (Ouch!) Now that I think about it, Peter’s water walking adventure may be more than just a lesson of faith once we’re on the water. What if Peter never left the boat? What personal lesson for life would he have missed out on? No one else experienced the moment as Peter did. Did Peter Jump over the boat’s railing or lower himself cautiously, swinging one leg then another to the other side of the boat? Peter may have been a man of little faith, but he did have faith. I wish I could boast of such faith. I don’t think I would have even considered the possibility of joining my Jesus on the water. Even when the waves are crashing all about me, I still like to stay in my boat.
I suppose I should get started reading this book. Apparently I need to be reminded that God has called us beyond the confines of our boat. Before I can experience following Jesus and keeping my eyes fixed on Him, I will need to have the faith to step over the railing of my boat….I just hope it’s not too slippery, high up, or windy. Man Overboard!