In one of the most frequently repeated scenes in Looney Tunes, a character, often Wile E. Coyote, runs headlong off a cliff and continues running through thin air—until he looks down. Once he realizes the potential danger he is in, he falls with a stupendous crash.
For Looney Tunes watchers, Peter’s experience of walking on water may seem faintly familiar. As the disciples were on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, they saw a figure walking toward them. Although they suspected it was a ghost, Jesus assured them it was in fact Him (v. 26–27). Peter then appeared to have sought proof, saying to Jesus, “Tell me to come to you on the water” (v. 28). When Jesus did, Peter walked toward Him with boldness.
Unlike Wile E. Coyote, Peter’s defiance of physics began not by accident but with an expression of faith. Peter believed in the power of Jesus, who had shown that faith could heal (9:2) and would promise that it could even move mountains (17:20).
Yet Peter, like Wile E. Coyote, soon realized the potential danger he was in and began to plummet. When a strong wind blew, Peter went from faith to fear and began to sink. Still, his faith did not disappear entirely, for he had enough to cry out to Jesus for help: “Lord, save me!” (v. 30). And when one of his disciples called out, Jesus did not hesitate to save. Rather, He reached out “immediately” (v. 31).
Those who follow Christ will at times find themselves in situations of danger or distress. But we can enter into them with the faith that enables us to walk through the seemingly impossible, and Jesus is always present to rescue us should we begin to plummet.
The classic hymn “How Firm a Foundation” depicts God promising: “When through deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.” Pray for the faith that all distresses will serve God’s purposes, and trust in His power to sustain you.