I love being the dad to two little girls. I don’t know if it’s the constant hugs, or the princess parties, or even the play makeup, but there is something so wonderful about being a dad to daughters. Now my girls are still little and my oldest is starting to learn what a conscience is. If she spills her water cup or hits the dog with a doll she is quick to say “I’m sorry.” I don’t know if she understands the concept of “I’m sorry” yet, but her words are in the right place. Often times she will say “I’m sorry” and then just hit the dog again. On the outside my face shows anger, but on the inside I’m laughing at her innocence and the payback I’m receiving from when I was a child. Every now and then she’ll do something when Valerie or I isn’t watching and then we will find it out later. When I call her over and ask her “who did this” (even though I already know), she normally will drop her head and walk over with the weight of the world on her shoulders. I can see the shame on her face from the decision she made and as her dad when I see that my heart fills with compassion. No matter what she has done, even when she needs correction, forgiveness and love are my overwhelming emotions. Our Heavenly Father sees us the same way I see my daughters except his compassion expands beyond our human emotions. Psalm 145 verse 8 says this:
“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.”
Psalms 145:8 NKJV
Peter the Apostle encountered the compassion of Jesus on more than one occasion. Whether that was toward him or some other person, Peter had a front row seat for compassion Himself as He walked the Earth. In Matthew 14:31-32, Peter is in a boat with the other disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when Jesus comes walking on the water. Peter in his boldness hollers at Jesus and says “If it’s you Jesus, tell me to come.” Jesus says, “come on” and Peter steps out over the edge of the boat and begins walking toward Jesus on the water. What most sermons or people focus on in this story is that after Peter walked on the water he began to get nervous and started sinking. Peter feared the storm and he cried out to Jesus for rescue. Jesus immediately grabs him and says “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Here is where most people stop, but I think we miss what happened between the moment Jesus picked Peter up out of the water and both of them got into the boat.
In the original Greek language when Jesus said “O you of little faith” it was one Greek word: oligopiotos, which means incredulous. Now I don’t use incredulous in my everyday grammar so I used a dictionary to look up the exact meaning. According to Websters, incredulous means “unwilling or unable to believe in something.” Jesus was telling Peter he was unwilling or unable to believe the fact that he was walking on the water. Peter had placed more faith into what the storm could do to him than Who was walking on the storm with him. Peter’s faith wavered between the wind and Jesus, but here is the incredible picture that I think we all miss. Jesus asks Peter this question, but then together they walk on the water back to the boat. Here is the visual: Jesus and Peter walking arm and arm on the water. Peter being sustained by Jesus faith and his little faith. Jesus didn’t just let Peter sink and make him swim back to the boat. No, they walked together even when Peter doubted and had little faith.
Where are you walking on the water today? Do you feel like the waves are too high and the wind too strong? Maybe you are a single parent and your kids and job require all your attention or you are in school and between classes, pressure to fit in, and college applications you can barely keep your head above water. I’ve been there. I know how you feel. I’ve felt so much pressure from work, family, and life that my chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it, but that is exactly where Jesus met me. He asked the me same question He asked Peter, “Where is your faith?” But He didn’t leave me there. He picked me up, put His arm in mine and walked with me on the water until we could get back to the boat. In Peter’s story when Jesus got into the boat, the storm ceased. The walk back to the boat was through the same storm that Peter was drowning in except this time Jesus was holding up Peter. Today, if you feel like you are drowning reach your hands up to Jesus and take hold of his arms. When the wind blows and the storm rages, remember you aren’t walking alone. Jesus is right there walking arm and arm, step by step, moment by moment.