Two weeks ago, Kimberly and I were at a campground in the Smoky Mountains. The park was nestled in a small valley about 500 feet below the mountain peaks. On our first morning, we woke up to cloudy and grey skies. Some of the clouds covered the top f the mountains. They were so close that you could reach out and touch them. I was in awe. I felt so close to heaven and knew God is near. A sense of peace came over me. I think that is what faith is all about – able to find peace knowing that God is near no matter what is happening in our life.
In the Gospel today, Jesus invites Peter to step out of the boat in the middle of a storm and join him on the water. Jesus didn’t calm the storm. He invited Peter out into the rough seas. Initially, Peter’s faith leads him to Jesus and he actually walks on the water. But then Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses on the storm. He begins to sink. So, Jesus reaches out to save him. Peter then finds peace with God. Often, we think peace is only found when the waves of life are calm. However, Jesus never promised us smooth sailing. Instead, he promised to always be with us so we find peace, even in the middle of a storm.
We like comfort. We like safety. And that’s not all a bad thing. But we can overinflate our desire for these things. Sometimes Jesus will ask us to take a risk and trust him. Sometimes, we need to step out of the boat, even during a storm. Like Peter, sometimes we step out of the boat and are overcome by fear. Maybe we even start to sink. But Jesus is right there to catch you. You might stumble, but you won’t drown. The storms of life give us good reason to be afraid. But Jesus is bigger than even the scariest of storms.
Faith requires trusting in Jesus to step out of the boat. As we go forward this week, may we pray for the grace to stay focused on Jesus during our storms. Because the more steps of faith we take, the easier it gets to find the inner peace we are all searching for.