By Jenny Harrison
“Do you see where the sky and water meet? That’s the horizon! If you keep your head up and focus on that point, it will keep you from getting sea sick.” After all these years, my father’s warning and the events of that morning are vivid.
We were on a fishing excursion at Corpus Christi Bay in my dad’s motorized wooden boat. He knew focusing on something stable was a better option than what he observed me doing—watching in fascination at the currents slapping against the side of the boat as it rocked up, down, back, and forth.
It’s ironic how a situation can change at a moment’s notice, or in my case, with no notice at all. The next thing I remember was feeling light headed and sick to my stomach. Before I was able to groan in agony, I felt my father’s arms as he caught me seconds before I fell backwards and landed on the floor of the boat. “Well kiddo, looks like we need to take this boat in. The only thing that will help you now is getting your feet planted on solid ground.”
As I reminisce about this day, I can’t help but think of how Peter felt when Jesus told him to step out of his boat and walk toward him. Initially, Peter was focused on Jesus, but he eventually took his eyes off his focal point and lost his stability.
Matthew 14:22-31 (ESV) reads:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 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. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As I read the scripture, I realize, I am more like Peter than I want to admit. I have doubted my Father due to stubbornness, fear, inflated self-sufficiency, and curiosity. My explanations and justifications are endless, but the final results are markedly similar. I am once again in a desperate position. I cry to my Father to rescue me, he hears my agony, extends his hand, mends my brokenness, and plants my feet on solid ground.
Precious Father, You are my horizon! My constant stability. I ask for forgiveness when I choose, once again, to take even the smallest step without focusing on You. I am thankful for your infinite love and grace. In your precious name I pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2013, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007. Photography courtesy of Michelle Welch, all rights reserved.