Read Matthew 14:25-31
25 At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (THE MESSAGE)
It is mistakenly thought that Christian faith is a bit of a leap in the dark. We kiss our brains goodbye and take the plunge and hope it will all work out in the end. This is not how it is. Faith, in Christian terms, is putting our trust in someone we have good reason to believe is reliable.
It might still seem risky because we don’t have all the answers and can’t be entirely sure of our immediate future. But fundamentally, faith is a reasonable action on our part because we know something of the one in whom we have our faith. And remember that our faith is not in some ideology but in a person, Jesus.
Peter illustrates something of this. He only gets out of the boat when Jesus tells him to do so. This is not some impulsive piece of bravado. Faith is not utter foolishness. Peter also illustrates something of the nature of faith. We are safe if we focus on Jesus, but less safe if we focus on our threatening circumstances. Faith must always rest in Jesus and not our own feelings of faith.
The story has been told of a child trapped in a burning building. His father was on the ground below the window and urged him to jump. The boy was scared, saying he couldn’t see his dad for the smoke. His father replied that this didn’t matter. He, the father, could see his son. That was what mattered.
Faith involves a leap of sorts. But it is a leap into the light, not the dark.