Getting Our Feet Wet - The Warrior's Journey®

Getting Our Feet Wet

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“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.  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)

A popular Christian Rock group, Petra, once recorded a song entitled, “Beyond Belief.” One line from this song says, “Waters never part until our feet get wet.” It was a reference to Joshua 3:15-16, where the priests who carried the sacred Ark came to the Jordan River at flood stage. Once the priests’ feet touched the water of the river, the waters parted, allowing them and all Israel to cross on dry ground. The message of the song is that we must leave our comfort zone, step out in faith, and take risks for God if we are to see the miraculous and grow in our faith.

Pastor and author, John Ortberg, shared the same message when he wrote, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” His reference was to the story we find here in Matthew 14:25-33. The story of Jesus walking on the water is found in all four gospels, but only Matthew mentions Peter stepping out of the boat to walk to Jesus.

In a way, Peter’s short walk to Jesus upon the water – which had its measure of failure – is illustrative of the Christian life. For Christ calls all His followers to do what is not humanly impossible. To obey Jesus Christ is contrary to our unregenerate nature and counter to the current of our world. We can only obey God by the transforming and enabling power He supplies. Obviously, Jesus wasn’t calling Peter to merely “do his best.” Peter’s best would have only amounted to swimming – or drowning.

Was Peter a failure for getting distracted and sinking? I suppose. But there were eleven bigger failures back in the boat who, too afraid of failure, refused to take any risks. Only Peter was willing to get his feet wet. And, that night, only Peter would know the thrill of doing the impossible with the power Christ provides.


Though we always gravitate to our comfort zones, can’t they be dangerous to our spiritual growth and faith? Can’t they get in the way of obeying God?

Though taking a step of faith like Peter’s involves risking failure, what constitutes a far greater failure?

In reality, it’s far more risky and dangerous to shrink from God in unbelief. Believing and obeying God is our only rational option.

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