Lorraine V. Murray

Yearning to take leap of faith like Peter did

Some Gospel scenes seem tailor-made for adventure movies. Take the one where the disciples are boating, when suddenly the wind kicks in and waves pound against their small vessel.

I’ve been in a fishing boat during a storm — and no matter how good a swimmer you are, you still dread the chance of the boat capsizing.

Plus, if you have a vivid imagination like yours truly, you may picture hungry sea creatures eager to devour you.

The drama of the Gospel story is heightened when the frightened men spot someone — a ghost? — walking toward them on the water in the wee hours of the morning.

As for me, I didn’t spot any apparent apparitions, which was a good thing, given how scared I was.

Our humble boat lumbered and swayed and banged hard against the waves, while my husband and I glimpsed pinpoints of light on a distant pier.

There was this lonely realization that crying for help was useless because the storm would muffle our voices.

In the Gospel story, the “ghost” turns out to be Jesus, but even when he identifies himself, Peter wants proof.

“Lord, if it is you, command that I come to you upon the water,” he says.

And, then, one word from Jesus — “Come” — prompts Peter to leap from the boat. Perhaps he recalled how Jesus had invited him to discipleship with “Come, follow me.”

And his initial steps toward Jesus remind me of a baby toddling toward his mother — and trusting she’ll buffer his fall.

Christ said heaven requires a conversion of heart: “Unless you change and become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom.”

How far will we follow Jesus? Will we jump from the relative safety of our boat into unknown waters?

Will we follow him only when skies are sunny and seas are smooth? Or trail him during treacherous storms that strike at 3 a.m.?

Will we embrace him with the trusting heart of a small child?

Discipleship is easy when there’s money in the bank, friends by our side and a song in our hearts. We go to church, put envelopes in the basket, say our prayers and head to Sunday brunch.

Then comes the dark night of the soul, when we send S.O.S. signals, to no avail — and wonder if we’ll capsize.

The disciples had battled the storm for hours and surely were at their wits’ end by the time Jesus arrived. Once he climbed into the boat, the sea was calmed — and their prayers answered.

“God provides” is my friend’s favorite motto. A homemaker with two children, she didn’t fret when her husband recently lost his job. In fact, she even replaced a broken stove, which I might have delayed until he found work.

The appliance was delivered, and her husband landed an even better job shortly after.

There’s a lesson here for me, since worry is my middle name. How hard I try to “let go and let God,” while simultaneously dog-paddling frantically to stay afloat.

I yearn to take a leap of faith like Peter did, but I’m clinging to my boat.

My mother’s favorite song was “Que sera, sera,” which means “Whatever will be, will be.” The lyrics proclaimed, “The future’s not ours to see.”

Many women my age glimpse lovingly into the future, picturing nice trips with their husband and watching grandchildren grow up.

As for me, I haven’t the foggiest idea what’s going to happen. Will God provide for me as he did for my friend?

Will I survive the current storms, which often threaten to drown me? Will my boat capsize?

When Peter started sinking, he cried, “Lord, save me!” — and Jesus stretched forth his hand to rescue his friend.

I pray every day that he’ll do the same for me.

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Lorraine has written eight books, most recently “Death Dons a Mask.” Her email is lorrainevmurray@yahoo.com