Our boat was tossed around like a straw in the wind that now raged around us. As the clouds parted, the moon cast its feint light on a shore that was getting no closer and we had nothing to show for our hours of rowing but the blisters on our hands. We were disheartened and one by one, the twelve of us lost hope. It was at this point that Andrew stopped rowing and raised a trembling hand, pointing into the distance, a look of terror on his face.
In the distance, just visible in the pale light, we saw a ghostly figure walking across the water. I wondered if it was a of the shadow of the dead coming to welcome twelve more, yet as the apparition drew closer we realised that it was going to pass us by. I felt an an immense sense of reprieve, as though we had been spared from some disaster when we heard a voice rising over the wind and waves, “Don’t be afraid, it is I”! It was a familiar voice, but it wasn’t possible. I had no time to let any of this sink in before Peter leapt to his feet – nearly overturning us. “Lord, if its you tell me to come”, and the voice said “Come”.
I was in shock. We knew next to nothing about the voice, yet without hesitation Peter was leaping over the side of the boat and into the sea. I did not know what to make of the voice, but I did know that, as scared as I was in the boat, I had absolutely no intention of leaving it. But, Peter, reckless as he is, had leapt out and was walking on the water towards the apparition, which he was trusting. At that point Peter seemed to have become aware of what he had done, and his feelings caught up with ours. There was a moment of panic in his eyes and then we watched him go under. We shouted after him, but he was too far away and we could do nothing. The apparition reached out and pulled him out from the sea and brought him back to the boat and joined us. It was only then that I knew for sure who he was.
Dawn was breaking as Jesus entered the boat and we realised that the wind had also stopped. We at last had hope for reaching the shore, but as I looked around I realised that we were almost there. I do not know how we managed it. Perhaps, we had been mislead by the light of the moon, but none of us really believed that. Either way, we were only too glad to be close to land. Once on shore, Jesus would not let us do anything but insisted we sit down while he made us a fire – he could see we were wet and cold, especially Peter who was wet through!
Peter nearly got drowned that day, but he went up in our estimation. Brash and impetuous he may be, but he taught us something. However secure we may, or may not, feel, the only safe place is with Jesus, and Peter, for all his faults, was less scared of dying than of remaining still while Jesus was walking by and calling him to join him.