I know a ghost story. It’s true! And all I know is this: if it had been ME – I would have been scared out of my mind! Just imagining myself in the story sends shivers up my back.
Groping in the dark . . . on the sea in blackest night. Suddenly, without warning, a terrifying storm attacks. Next thing they know, they are being tossed around like autumn leaves ripped off a tree and flipped in every wicked direction. They fear the worst. They yell at each other! There’s not a doubt in their minds their boat is going down. Crashing waves! Whipping winds! They are “gonners!”
How did this happen? One minute telling jokes and enjoying memories; the next minute, literally fighting to stay alive! “God, help us! Please God, help us!” And then it gets worse!
God hears them crying out, screaming for His help. And so – He does something! As He looks down from His place of prayer on the mountain miles away, Jesus sees and hears their helplessness through the wicked storm. THAT is good eye sight! THAT is excellent hearing! Jesus goes to the rescue. He defies principles of physics He created . . . supersedes what is normal . . . walks out on the water and heads for their boat. Then –
– just to test their faith a bit
– just to give them a chance to respond with confidence to His great power,
– He almost passes by.
They see Him, all right! And they are terrified! Apparently, they are not thinking about faith or confidence right then. Terrible just went to horrible! The ghost is coming right at them! They already suspect the storm isn’t a “normal storm.” Now, their suspicions are validated. The ghost comes closer and closer. The terror they felt trying to stay alive in the storm slips off as they now face a much greater terror from the spirit world. Can you hear them – “Ahhhh! No!! A ghost! God, help us!”
I wonder if they believed they’d be heard, or if they were just desperately throwing out a “last prayer.” Perhaps they had resigned to the inevitable unfairness of life. “Why? SO unfair! We’re gonna die!!”
Then the ghost says, “It’s Me! Don’t be afraid.”
What Peter does next reveals amazing faith, absolute abandon to love Jesus, and I think just a tiny bit of ”crazy!” He has a hunch the ghost really is Jesus, and he responds, “If it’s really You, invite me to walk on the water to You.”
Jesus simply says, “Come!”
In radical, passionate response to “the ghost,” Peter does the unthinkable: he gets out of the boat and fully expects to walk on the water! Does that not amaze you? It does me! Peter goes from absolute terror one minute to complete confidence the next. Then he jumps over the side of the boat, doing the unthinkable act he has become famous for. What changed Peter from terror to confidence?
Peter knew he was placing faith in Jesus who:
- Loves him deeply.
- Always makes wise and perfect decisions even in a broken world.
- Has a power unmatched by any other person or force in the universe – and He uses that power to care for His dear children and carry out His Father’s wishes.
Peter’s faith is rewarded. He is the only other man in recorded history besides Jesus to walk on water.
You can move from terror to confidence. You just need to believe the right ghost story![The Gospels give a variety of details to this event, each focusing on certain elements: Mt. 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-50; Jn. 6:16-21.]
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