“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.” (Matthew 14:28-29)
I wonder if Peter really knew what he was asking when he asked Jesus to command him to come out to him on the water. Did he really think Jesus would invite him to come? To step out of the boat and walk on the water?
What’s more, Jesus didn’t give him a lot of details. He didn’t give him instruction. He just said, “come.”
Credit where credit is due: Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water and comes to Jesus. I don’t know how long he walked on the water, but it’s longer than I ever have! He walked on literal water in the middle of a literal storm. All because Jesus said, “come”.
One of the most frustrating things about following Jesus is that what we think we want, and what he wants for us, are often not quite the same thing. Peter asked to walk on water, but once he was out there, it didn’t look (or feel) quite like he expected. Whatever he thought he would accomplish by getting out of the boat wasn’t what Jesus wanted to accomplish in him by demonstrating the power of Christ, even over our fears.
Equally frustrating, however, is that Christ often doesn’t give us any more instruction than what we need to take the first step. His instruction to Peter consisted of nothing more than a single word: come. It was an invitation to take a step in his direction. A small step that probably felt more like a leap of faith as Peter stepped off the side of the boat and into the storm.
When I’m facing challenging situations, or situations that didn’t turn out how I expected, this is the reminder I need to take the next step: Jesus said come. Come when your burdened. Come when you’re tired. Come when you’re confused. Come when you’re happy. Come when you’re sad.