Recently I attended a retreat. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, we participated in a method of meditating on scripture called Lectio Divina. In this kind of reading a passage of scripture is read out loud and followed by 3 minutes of silence; read again followed by 8 minutes; and then again followed by 15 minutes; read again and followed by an extended time of listening. Lectio Divina is one of my favorite ways to fan the flame…the flame that at times flickers dimly and at others rages strong.
Lately, the flame has been more like burning embers in need of a log and a gust of wind…
That day, overlooking the ocean, the wind blew strong.
The following vignette came to me after meditating on Matthew 14:22-33–
Sometimes I don’t want to get into the boat and go to the other side…
I think I am fine right here with you.
But you make me get into the boat and go to the other side.
Once we are far enough out that I can’t see the shore anymore, the wind picks up and with it the waves.
What? We’re going under? But Jesus put us in this boat and shoved us out? Why? Why would he do that? Why would he have cast us off? And in the middle of the night? Is he trying to get rid of us?
What is that walking on the water? Are we dead? Are we seeing things? A ghost!?! Oh now this seriously tops all!
Everyone is screaming. We think we might go under. But…
“Take heart! It is I! Do not be afraid!”
I put my hand out to the others and beckon them to quiet down as if to say,
“I’ve got this.”
With a wink to John, I yell out,
“If it’s really you command me to come to you on the water.” (yeah right, this’ll solve this dilemma).
“Come on.” the thing says.
My friends eyes are large in their heads. John leans over and says, “Peter, are you sure?’
I step out.
Jesus comes into focus.
His eyes are so calm.
All of the sudden I catch drift of what is going on around me.
“This is crazy! What was I thinking? Humans don’t walk on water! I must be delusional!”
I’ve got no other choice but to cry out,
“Help me! Save me! I’m drowning!”
My chest never hit the water. His hand…his strong steady hand reached for me and pulled me up.
“Peter! Why!?! Why did you doubt?”
His eyes gleamed so full of joy, so excited at my leap of faith. He was almost laughing, not chiding me, but playfully reminding me that my doubt had been my undoing…His joy seemed to say “we could’ve had so much fun! If you just would have believed.“
I couldn’t stand when we reached the boat. I collapsed at his feet and in a breathless huff said…
“Truly you are the Son of God.”
Laughter echoed over the now still water.
Yes, sometimes I don’t want to get into the boat and go to the other side…
but He shoves me off…
knowing He’ll come to me when the waves overwhelm me.
He’ll beckon me to step out.
I walk on water.