As we’ve been meditating on the wisdom of God this week, I keep thinking of the role faith has in grasping this characteristic of our Lord. God tells us to “lean not on our own understanding” because it’s often a stumbling block to faith and can be dangerous– it’s easy for knowledge to become an idol and a prerequisite for faith, peace, and obedience. However, stepping out into the mysterious wisdom of God is not only a safer bet than our own understanding, it’s a vital way to learn more about who He is and grow our faith.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and unfathomable His ways!Romans 11:33
My Reflections on the Wisdom of God
The story of Peter walking out to Jesus on the waves kept coming to me as I pondered the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge. I’d like to think I have faith enough to walk out to Jesus, but when I put myself in scene, I have to be really honest with myself …
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.Matthew 14: 25-26
I really can’t blame the disciples here–I probably would cry out in fear too. They were already in a stressful situation being “battered by waves because the wind was against them” (Matt 14:24). Add to that the strange behavior of Jesus, and you’ve got a good recipe for terror.
Have you ever experienced that in your life? A stressful situation where God seems to be acting weird, and you’re scared? Why wouldn’t Jesus just calm our waves? Or explain why we need to go through this storm in the first place? Explanations and understanding go a long way in calming fears of the unknown, but calming fear doesn’t push us to grow in faith, or bring glory to God. It creates a reliance on understanding instead of on the wisdom of the Lord.
In the midst of the waves and wind, Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid. “Matt 14:27
From the disciples’ point of view, an unknown, hazy figure in the distance is claiming to be Jesus and telling them not to be afraid.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure that would be enough to calm my fears. In fact, I know from life experience that I struggle to remain calm when the storm is loud and in my face while God seems very far away.
That demands a lot of faith. A faith that is in Jesus and not in understanding all the elements of a situation.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied him, “tell me to come to you on the water.”Matt 14:28-29
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Could you? Before you knew who Jesus really, really was? Without knowing if it’s Jesus out there calling you?
Even though Peter has been living side-by-side with Jesus, and was starting to understand who he was, we’ll see time and again that that knowledge hasn’t transformed his heart to affect all his actions. Peter is still in the baby stages of fully grasping who Jesus is, but I’d like to think that it’s steps of faith like these, into the unknown of God, that pulled him further along in that journey.
Some of my hesitation in trusting God during my difficult times stemmed from not really knowing who He was yet, and not being able to recognize His voice. That’s why it’s so important to be in the Word regularly, pray continually, and listen fervently.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”Matt 14:30
Yup, I get that. Jesus was still a mystery to Peter, and there will always be some element of mystery around Jesus and God for us. But the world we live in is much more concrete. We can see our circumstances so much clearer than we can the ways and power of God. We’re drawn to the “known.” And so, foolishly, we look at them, and take our eyes off Jesus. And we sink.
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”Matt 14:31
Honesty time again: if Peter had “little faith,” mine must be minuscule!
But Jesus even saves those that doubt, question and grow afraid. Why? Because of love. Bigger than the storm, bigger than the fear, bigger than this test of faith, is Jesus’ love for Peter. Through it all.
We have to take that first step of faith into the unknown of God, but we’re not alone in it. Jesus is there to take our hand when our humanity overcomes us and we waver.
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”Matt 14:32-33
The disciples’ circumstances didn’t change–their fears were not put to rest–until Jesus got to the boat. Notice that Peter’s faith came first, and even then, Jesus met him halfway. In the end, the disciples have a better understanding of who Jesus is; they’re closer physically, emotionally, and spiritually to the heart of Christ.
The depth of the riches of the knowledge and wisdom of God are like the depths of the ocean. We don’t know what’s below. It’s dark and a little scary as He calls us to walk on His water during the storm, but when we do, we’re that much closer to understanding the enormity of who He is.
I’d love to hear what you’ve been meditating on this week. Were you focused on our weekly verse? Or did the Lord lead you somewhere else?
Feel free to comment here or in our Facebook group.
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