Resilient | Distracted

posted by Megan Oates | Mar 23, 2022

Matthew 14:22-33

Distraction. We know the word well. We all know what it feels like to be hyper-focused on one thing, then three seconds later have our minds wander off to think about what may be for dinner. Or, the heavy situation starts weighing on our hearts again and stops us right in our tracks, making us unable to continue with what we were doing in the moment. 

The world we are surrounded by is entirely distracting. We are navigating a post-Covid era while still aware that another strain could very well be on its way. We are trying to balance a normal but safe life, and sometimes, it takes all of our brain space to figure out how to do that. Our lives are filled with heartbreaks, loss, fear, all caused by situations that happen to us or around us. It’s easy to get distracted by these things when they constantly surround you. 

One of the reasons why I love Peter so much is because he’s relatable. If we look at Matthew 14:22-33, we see that Peter got distracted as well. After all, he wasn’t just some made-up, superhero character in the Bible, he was a real person and human being. 

In this passage, the disciples were in the midst of a great storm when Jesus started walking towards them on the water. Immediately, the disciples figured it was a ghost. I mean, I probably would have thought the same thing! But then Jesus spoke and said, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” 

Peter called out in faith, asking Jesus to allow him to come to him by walking on the water, just as Jesus did, to which Jesus said, “Yes, come,” (verses 27-29). 

Just picture it. Peter, completely human, walks on the raging waves towards Jesus, doing what is impossible for man. The wind was roaring, but his eyes were locked on the one before him. But, as soon as he looked at the situation around him, he began to sink. The waves overpowered him and the wind started to terrify him. 

It’s not very shocking, really. Even though Peter had Jesus right there in front of him, he couldn’t fight the reality of what was going on around him. We know this feeling well. The feeling that our situation is way too out of control, and we end up sinking in it. It’s more than a distraction at this point. It’s our life, our reality, nothing else matters. Nothing else can survive under the weight of the heaviness. 

What do you do in those moments? 

When Peter started to sink, he shouted, “Save me, Lord!” 

“Save me, Lord!” 

Now, there’s no true way of knowing if Peter said this as soon as he started to sink, or if he let himself freak out for a while first. We do know that Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him (verse 31). Peter cried out for Jesus to save him, and Jesus didn’t miss a beat.

That’s our God. 

At the same time that Jesus was pulling Peter out of the water, he was also convicting his heart. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (Verse 31) 

Jesus is the only one that can comfort someone and convict them at the same time. He’s the only one that can perfectly balance truth and grace. He had all of the authority to correct Peter, and it was the correction that Peter needed. Didn’t he ask for Jesus to enable him to walk on the water? 

Then why did he doubt that Jesus would be able to do it? 

Once again, Peter is relatable. He chose to look at the situation around him instead of Jesus, which wasn’t a hard thing to do. His situation was loud and demanded all of his attention. It was all-consuming, completely surrounding him. But by doing this, he was entirely distracted from Jesus, causing him to sink even further into the very situation he was trying to get out of. 

Peter had Jesus right in front of him, and still got distracted and doubted him. Why? Because sometimes it’s easier for us to believe our surroundings, situations, and emotions more than it is to believe Jesus. Sometimes, the sinking feels more real than the saving. 

Peter felt it. For a moment, everything was perfect as he stepped on the water, solidifying his faith that Jesus can do what he says he’ll do. But as soon as doubt crept into his mind, down he went. I can imagine the thoughts now, “Can he really enable me to walk on this water? Is this really happening? The waves are getting stronger, the wind is so loud, he’s going to drown me, I can’t do this, I can’t do this!” 

Jesus showed Peter what happens when we get distracted and lose faith. We become completely immersed in the circumstance that is begging for our full attention. 

But even as Peter lost faith and sunk, Jesus was right there. He didn’t leave. He didn’t let Peter drown. Even through Peter’s doubt, Jesus extended his hand towards him. And as soon as Peter cried out, Jesus was pulling him out of the water. He didn’t waste a single second to save him. 

He can do this for you, too. Yes, this world is distracting. Our circumstances can get the best of us. Our eyes can shift, our thoughts can race, and our minds can wander. Our greatest battles can keep us from thinking about anything other than the situation we’re in. 

But he’s right there. Waiting to grab our hand like he did Peter’s. Ready to walk on water with us and do hard things. He’s not leaving us. He won’t let us drown. We can come out the other side of a horrible storm and make it safely in the boat. All we have to do is cry out, “Save me, Lord.”