When I Got Hit by a Car
Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. Matthew 14:29
When I was a kid, I got hit by a car while riding my bike. Or rather, I hit a parked car while riding my bike. I was pedaling along, watching everything but the road, when, BAM, I ended up on the hood. I think it was parked facing the wrong way, so I still kind of blame the car. Nevertheless, it was rather astounding to not see that car. The lesson – which I wish I could say I learned that day – is that to safely get somewhere on a bicycle, I must keep my eyes on the road. There are a lot of things to see on a bike ride, but lack of focus makes for a painful experience.
This is akin to my favorite picture of faith in today’s passage. In the story, Jesus miraculously walked on water meeting the disciples who were battling the winds in their boat. Emboldened by Jesus presence, Peter wanted to practice his faith. Jesus called and Peter came, walking on the water too . . . as long as he kept his eyes on Christ.
Peter’s brain eventually caught up with what he was doing though as he became distracted by the wind and waves. If faith was keeping his eyes on Christ, Peter doubted by allowing his gaze to be distracted by the terrors around him. While he kept his eyes on his God, Peter walked on top of the chaos, but as soon as he turned from God, he was consumed by it.
God doesn’t promise that following him eliminates life’s trials. The wind still battered Peter’s head, the rain still pelted his face, and the water was still deep. Peter’s challenge was to keep his eyes on Christ, despite all of those things.
The challenge for us is the same as it was for Peter. If we desire to navigate life successfully, we cannot focus primarily on the world. No matter how real our trials are, we must daily take time to turn our eyes, and thus, our lives, towards God. This doesn’t mean we don’t engage in the world. Peter still walked with the wind and waves. Faith is learning to live amongst the wind and waves, while remaining focused on Christ, making our feet (or pedals) follow him.