Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Makes Peter Sink?

Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.

When it was evening he was there alone.Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear

At once (Jesus) spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:22-33
I met with my spiritual adviser and we spoke about faith. In this passage from the Gospel of Matthew when Peter begins to walk on water, he loses his faith. What cause it to happen? It was precisely the point when, because of the wind, the wind sort of shocked Peter, that Peter starts to think like the secular world, he needs something measurable. He should not be able to walk on water, so he starts to seek something by which he can measure his experience and does not find it. Faith is believing when all things tell you not to believe. When Christ was upon his cross, dying, he no reason to believe but only the love of His father. Faith does not require something that we can measure by. God does the impossible. Lets put this point into perspective of our current times. The economy is bad for sure, people begin to see all the things that comprise who they are, for most of us they are the things we can measure, our house, our car, our material possessions, our lifestyle. The loss of those things can devastate people. This is not the case with faith, it does not require anything measurable. Faith (deep faith) empties everything that you are and says to God, I totally depend on you. It believes when is no tangible, secular, measurable reason to believe. That is faith of Peter walking on the water after Jesus invites him with the word "Come" That is the faith we aspire to, we will get near it at times and move from at other times. That is what our spiritual life does, and in a slow sure zig zag pattern we move to holiness. Take another example, an alcoholic, when he is totally busted, lost job, wife, kids, house, car, is not even in control of his body, flat on his face. That is point where he realizes that he is totally dependent on someone outside of himself, and since he has betrayed his family and friends, God becomes the only place he can go, and God can fix that person. We don't need tragedy to realize we are not in control, although it will drive the message home. We need to gradually remove our attachments, they are much like the wind that Peter heard on the water, they cause us to take measure and so we fall back on them. The spiritual journey is moving from the detachments to total surrender, not that God is to take care of everything in your life, that's not what God does. He desires your love and through that love comes peace. Faith is believing when there is no reason to believe.

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