Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:31
If one thing keeps us from succeeding in any kind of race, it is being distracted. This is not only in a literal race, but in the spiritual race God has called us to. In a literal running race, our thirst, the pain in our legs, the heat, and more might distract us and hold us back. In the spiritual race God has called us to; we may be distracted by things around us, people, social media, our career goals, and more. These things are not necessarily bad, but we have a problem when they distract us from the race God has called us to. You see, when we run the race God has called us to, we must remain focused, refusing to let distractions get in the way.
Matthew 14 tells a story of when Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, became distracted in his journey to follow Jesus. At the time, he and the other disciples were on a boat when they saw Jesus, who was walking on water during a time when the wind had created big waves. As the disciples watched Jesus in amazement, Peter made a bold request. Peter said, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (verse 28). Jesus answered his request and said, “Yes, come” (verse 29). Peter obeyed Jesus’ invitation. Miraculously Peter started walking on water, directly towards Jesus. Then, as he walked and “saw the strong wind and the waves,” he became scared and started sinking. He pleaded with Jesus to save him. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed Peter. “’You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?’” (verse 31). Peter became so distracted by the wind and waves around him that he began to sink.
Peter’s story in Matthew 14 is all of our stories. We want to follow Jesus and live for Him, but we all become distracted. Whether we walk through a difficult time that distracts us or are distracted by other things, people, or our busy schedules, when we take our focus off of Him, our distraction may cause us to quit running the race He has laid out in front of us. This is not good news. There is good news, however. You see, just like He was there for Peter, Jesus is there to save us and help us stay focused on Him and His calling for our lives. You see, His plan is always best. He wants to do big, walking-on-water, types of things through our lives if we will stay focused on Him.
Do you find yourself wanting to follow Jesus and be used by Him, but you have become distracted? It is time to call out to Jesus, just like Peter, for help. He is there, ready to catch you and set your feet back on the right course. Look to Him.
Take a few moments to think about what might be distracting you in your faith journey. Is there anything keeping you from running your race full steam ahead? What is it? Maybe a person’s approval is keeping you from running. Perhaps fear is holding you back. Maybe what is holding you back is getting sucked up in social media or the next Netflix binge. My friend, it is time to set aside the things distracting us and run the race set out for us.
Matthew 14:22-36 (NLT)
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.
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