I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of Peter getting out of the boat this weekend.
You know, the one where the disciples see Jesus walking on the water and they think he’s a ghost. And so Peter dares the “ghost” to tell him to come out on the water.
And before Peter can even think twice, he acts recklessly and steps out of the boat.
There are very few times in our lives when we actually get a chance to step out of the boat, to take a big step of faith, not knowing if we are going to sink. Peter took his chances.
I’ve also been thinking about something else.
The eleven guys who did not get out of the boat.
I wonder what they said to one another.
“What is Peter doing?”
“That’s a bad idea.”
“He is going to sink!”
“I’ve read a blog about these guys who try to walk on water. I don’t agree with it.”
See, every precious time we get the chance to step out of our boat, there is going to be eleven (or a lot more) people who stay in the boat, and tell us why we should stay put. They are the concerned friends who urge “discernment.” They are the experts who prophesy disaster at every turn. They are the barely-informed Christians who think they have well-reasoned moral objection.
I have been seriously struggling with this recently, knowing that I have made choices, I have gotten out of my boat. And there are plenty of people who have an opinion about that. Mob mentality is alive and well and it keeps us in fear of ever leaving the little boundaries of the boats we are in.
“We are all in the same boat,” they say. Maybe it’s because no one is allowed to leave the boat.
All of the people in the boat mean well. But the result is the same. The voices of fear, anxiety, safety, guilt or shame always try to crowd in and hold us back. They try to tell us that our faith is too reckless. They try to tell us that God wants us to stay safely in the boat. They try to convince us that we are doing something wrong by getting out of the boat.
You know, the hardest part of getting out of the boat might not be seeing the wind and the waves that are about to crash into us, but shutting out the voices who try to hold us back, wondering what could have been.