What does it feel like to walk on water? Do the bottoms of your feet get wet? Does it feel squishy and soft, like a Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insert, or like hard, cool linoleum? If you just stood there, would you bob up and down like a cork?
Why is this information not in the Bible?
These are questions I’d like to ask Peter when I get to heaven. The sensation he felt when he stepped out of the boat in Matthew chapter 14 must have been really weird. Other than Jesus, no one had ever walked on water before. You’d have to think it felt cool to his feet, but maybe he didn’t even notice because he was so freaked out that he was actually WALKING ON WATER! If you’ve read the story you know that he panicked, started to sink and had to be rescued by Jesus (haven’t we all?).
This story has great meaning to me because God used it to change the course of my life. In 1993 I was a mid-level executive at successful advertising firm. My company had recently merged with another agency to form a bigger agency. Within weeks of the merger I began to sense that I was gradually being squeezed out. I don’t think I fit their corporate culture and the new big boss didn’t see much value in me. My projects were floundering and I was under pressure to produce… but I was failing. Every day I prayed for God to help me do better, but I continued to sink.
One morning was especially bad. I had problems with multiple projects and some of my clients were grumbling. For days I had been wondering what God was trying to teach me. Was He putting roadblocks in my path to lead me in a new direction? Did He want me to quit my job? Or maybe Satan was creating havoc with my work to get me to quit or be fired. If I quit for the wrong reason, it might ruin my career!
When lunchtime rolled around I decided to stay at my desk and pray for guidance. I told my Father, “Lord, what do You want me to do, quit my job? Is this You, trying to lead me in a new direction, or it is the devil trying to deceive me? I want to be obedient, but I don’t know if it’s Your voice I’m hearing. Please tell me if it’s you, Lord!”
I kept a gigantic five-pound Bible on my bookshelf. I flopped it on my desk and randomly flipped it open. I wasn’t expecting an answer, just some comforting verses to calm my frayed nerves. I looked down and my eyes landed on these words:
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
I blinked. Then I read the verse again. I became acutely aware of how quiet my office was. Did God just speak to me through Scripture? I had asked the Lord a direct question, “is it You, God?” I didn’t expect to see His answer in black and white, but there it was. I continued reading.
“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.” (Matt. 14)
So, Jesus tells Peter, “get out of the boat.” Defying physics, Peter steps out and, at least for a few moments, walks on water. He didn’t think about what he was doing, he just obeyed.
I sat there for the remainder of my lunch break pondering what this meant. That afternoon I walked into my boss’s office and gave him my two-weeks notice. He asked, “are you sure?” I explained that I really believed God was leading me in a new career direction. He probably thought I was crazy. I had no new job lined up and no prospects for work, but I was going to step out in faith.
A few weeks later as I sat at my desk at home, the phone rang. It was a former client who had called the agency looking for me. They gave him my home phone number. He had a project that he needed help with and asked if I was available. Yep, I was definitely available. Over the next several months more former clients called, and some then new clients called. Bottom line, God gave me a new business that sustained me for the next 20 years. I actually made more money than before and as a bonus, God gave me enough free time to devote to new interests, such as volunteering with a mission organization that plants churches in Third World countries. I’m now on their board of directors.
God doesn’t always answer you in an audible voice or with a verse of Scripture, but sometimes He does. When you finally step out of the boat and onto the water, it feels really cool.