Who would you rather be?

Peter had a reputation. Always mentioned first in any list of the disciples, he was the acknowledged spokesman of the group. His eagerness to speak got him into trouble occasionally. There were times when he suffered from sandal-in-the-mouth disease: speak first then think about it.

He might have been brash and impulsive but you have to give the guy credit. He stuck his neck out. He also stuck his foot out. In a book I hope you have read, John Ortberg wrote about the risks and rewards of stepping into unknown adventure out of our comfort zones: “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to get out of the Boat.”

You can read the story in Matthew14:22-33. Peter’s impetuous first step was followed by sheer terror. At first, all he could see was Jesus. He asked, Jesus answered: “Come.” He came … until he noticed the wind ripping at his hair, the waves dousing his body, the noise of a dangerous storm. He started sinking when he took his eyes off Jesus. In panic, he screamed for help, “Save me, Lord!”

He could have been like his eleven companions. He could have stayed in the boat. The storm was still raging so they were still in danger. It is interesting to note a couple of things. First, Peter didn’t die. Jesus did save him. The safest place to be in the storm is where Christ can grab you. Staying close to Christ seems to be a good idea.

Second, the storm ended after Peter had taken the risk. Jesus had already assured them, “It’s all right. I am here! Don’t be afraid.” I think it’s important to be confident that we will never meet a storm so strong Christ can’t see us through. Sometimes He stills the storm, but always He is willing to go with us through it.

Was it worth the risk Peter took? Perhaps faltering faith is better than no faith at all. Like the father whose son was desperately ill (Mark 9:24), sometimes all we can say is “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”


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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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