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Bravery: An Unexpected Discovery
Friday, October 14, 2022 by H. Lynn Pierce

There are many Biblical examples of bravery, but the one who always stood out to me was Peter. He is the only person besides Jesus who walked on water. Peter was beyond brave. Peter took risks that I would never even think of. If I were in that boat, I doubt I would have even had the idea to walk to Jesus. I would certainly not have asked such a bold question as: “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on water.” (see Matthew 14:28)

 

      Peter lived courageously. I found it hard to relate to him. He was beyond my reach…until he wasn’t.

 

Confession: I judged Peter

 

      My first real interaction with Peter was judgment.

 

      As I read passages involving the disciple, I thought things like: “How many times does it take to get this through your thick skull!?!” Admittedly, not my best moment, but this was the moment God used to get my attention. God asked me, “How many times have you had the same lesson and we’re back at it?” Ouch!

 

      This is when my perspective of Peter shifted.

 

      Before this, Peter was a hero of the faith, larger than life. He was outspoken and bold. He seemed unconcerned about safety, protection, and a life of peace that I craved. This one prideful reaction and subsequent question uttered by the Lord in my spirit opened my eyes. I could suddenly reach out and touch Peter because he was no longer a heroic model, but a flesh and blood man who struggled and failed. Once the lenses fell from my eyes, I was able to learn from Peter like never before.

 

      Have you ever noticed that the characters we are most intrigued by usually have something great to teach us?

 

      As I spent time in the scriptures learning from my new friend, he brought me to Jesus like never before. There was strength and confidence, a certainty that I admired. His bold courage still amazed me. I didn’t understand it…until one day I found myself facing the waves and looked down to realize I was no longer in the boat.

 

Thick-headed Resistance

 

      Over a decade ago now, we began our journey of adoption. In a span of 7 months, we went from no children to two: a 2-year-old with special needs and an infant. Our lives had drastically changed, yet we knew this was not the end of the line for us.

 

      Within a year, God gave me words to pray: “for a child not yet mine.” As time went on, God revealed more details: the child was a girl. Then as I prayed for the daughter not yet mine aloud one day in the car, an ‘s’ was added. I tried to argue with the Lord, but knew in my spirit, this was indeed His plan. There were daughters in our future.

 

      Yet when God revealed the specific girls that were to join our family, he spoke first to my husband. I resisted. There were four girls. Four. That would make 6 children total. In my world, that was crazy bold and way beyond my comfort zone.

 

      Like Gideon in Judges 6, I needed some reassurance. I repeated his words to God from verse 36, “If you are truly going to use me to…” parent these children, then I need some signs. I laid out a number of sheepskins to know for sure: Lord, you will have to provide a bigger house (where we want to live) AND the finances must work out so we can afford it. God not only met every need but did so with grace and understanding.

 

      The Lord also gave me confirmation in His Word: Proverbs 24:3-4.

      By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

 

      These were indeed the ‘rare and beautiful treasures’ God chose for us.

 

Wet Feet Realization

 

      We joke that we don’t add, we multiply! We went from a family of 2 to 4 then jumped from 4 to 8. The transition was not an easy one. During this challenging period, I was attending a weekly Bible study. Every Wednesday evening, the children and I headed to church. They were all enrolled in a kids’ program, and I had two blessed hours to study God’s word with other moms.

 

      I don’t remember the curriculum we used, but I remember the lesson on Peter stepping out of the boat. As we talked and discussed, revelation washed over me. The waves towered and threatened to crash on my head…because I was no longer in the boat. Jesus had indeed called me. I had obeyed and boldly stepped beyond all I knew.

 

      I was walking on water. I just hadn’t realized it…until that moment.

 

      I raised my hand and shared that I was on the seas walking to my Savior and only just now realized it. As I looked around the room, smiles, nods, and knowing looks returned my gaze. Apparently, I was the last one to recognize this fact.

 

      I shared my life and my journey with the women in that room. They knew the struggles I faced. They knew the precious blessings I held close to my heart. My courage wasn’t a conscious decision, it was a result of following my Lord. It was recognized by others and inspired them to take their own bold steps of faith.

 

      I think that’s what Peter did. He led by example. He took risks. He spoke up for Truth. He tended Jesus’ lambs and sheep. The thing is, though, Peter did not lead for others to follow him. He always led them to Jesus.

 

      I didn’t set out to be courageous, I simply found myself there. I did, however, set out to follow Jesus and hoped to point others to Him.

 

The Courageous Cry Out

 

      When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, Jesus calls out to them. His words from Matthew 14:27 cry out to us today as well, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!”

 

      Jesus directs us to take courage. He’s offering it to us (along with peace, joy, and other lovely things). We can choose to accept it, or cling to our fear. As we move closer to Jesus, our grips release, fear draining through our fingers. Our hands open ready to receive whatever God has planned for us.

 

      When Jesus is near, courage overshadows fear. As we live our lives near Him, the bold steps we take seem to involve less risk. Trusting in the One who is entirely faithful feels like a sure step. Jesus may lead me across seas, through valleys or cresting mountaintops. I choose to follow. The path and the outcome rest fully on Him.

 

      Matthew 14 continues:

      “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

      So, Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

      But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

      Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (verse 29-31)

 

      Even the bravest of disciples falter. Peter walked on water, but he also began to sink. None of us are immune to doubt and fear. Bravery is not invincibility but does involve our actions when we find ourselves in the most challenging of situations. Peter’s courage is just as evident in his walking on water as it is in his cry for help, “Save me, Lord!”

 

      For when we cry out to the One who can save us, this is the beginning of our eternal journey.

 

      Even today, as I face the wind and waves, I must pause to orient myself and recognize where I am. I lift my eyes and see my Savior. The terrain under my feet rarely matters these days. Fixing my eyes on Him and following Jesus is my focus. He loves me on the days I appear brave and strong, and He loves me on the days I flounder and fall. Either way, He’s extending His hand toward me just as He did to Peter. It’s a good day when I cry out and reach for it.

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