Called to do the impossible

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. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:25-31

It seems that the worst of the disturbances that have blighted British cities over the last few nights have come to an end.  We can give thanks that order seems to have been restored to our country, and that the authorities are once again in control, rather than the rampaging looters.

Perhaps you’ve considered over the last few days how you, as a Christian, could get involved in your community to try to prevent such a scenario developing again.  Maybe you were even inspired by yesterday’s reflection to take action, to love the looters, and to support our young people as they grow up in situations which are often far from loving.

But perhaps you also find yourself thinking, how can I make a difference?  There’s no way that anything I can do could have any impact on the world.  I’m just one person.  It would be impossible for me to make a difference.

And yet Jesus calls to do the impossible.

In today’s reading, the disciples see Jesus walking on the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee.  They’re initially petrified, assuming that the figure they can see is a ghost.  Then, however, Jesus calls out to them, and reassures them that it is he.

Peter’s response is to call on Jesus to tell him to come across the water to him.  Jesus answers with just a single word: come.

Two amazing things happen next.  Firstly, Peter actually steps out onto the water.  Secondly, just for a brief while, he succeeds in walking on the water!

Jesus calls Peter to do the impossible, and, through his faith in Jesus, he succeeds in doing it!

It is only when Peter takes his eyes off Christ and looks around him at the stormy waters that he loses his faith.  When he loses his faith, he begins to sink.

Jesus reacts instantly to Peter’s sinking.  He immediately reached out his hand and grabbed him, thereby saving his life.

Just as Jesus called Peter to do the impossible, there are times when he calls us to do things that we believe are impossible too.  Perhaps working to shape our communities, and supporting the young people who have been rioting and looting, falls into that category.  These things might seem like impossible tasks, but if we have faith in Jesus, and keep our eyes focused on him, then we can achieve anything.

If we should find ourselves losing faith, losing confidence, and taking our eyes off Christ, all we need to do is call out “Lord, save me!” as Peter did, and we can be confident, certain even, that Jesus will rescue us.

So as we come towards what has been a difficult week for the UK, don’t underestimate the impact that you can have on your community.  Don’t withdraw, believing that it would be impossible for you to have any impact, but trust in Christ, keep your eyes fixed on him, and stride out in faith.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, there is no limit to what we can do.

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