“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
A great truth is missed in the story of Peter walking on the water that would help many believers in their work to help others. You know the story that Jesus compelled the disciples to go to the other side. Jesus knew what was going to happen when He told them to go, but He still wanted their faith to grow in the midst of the storm. When the storm arose and the disciples were afraid they were going to die, Jesus came to them by walking on the water. Because they didn’t know it was Jesus, and because they thought it was a spirit, the disciples cried out in fear. Jesus’ compassion led Him to say, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
The truth that is often missed is found in the next few actions of Peter. Peter doubting that is was Jesus said to Him, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Peter didn’t believe it was Jesus, and he didn’t believe that Jesus was walking on the water. To Peter’s surprise, Jesus told Peter to “Come.” Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking to Jesus, but somehow began to doubt in the midst of his walk. His doubt led to him sink in the troubled waters. As would be the normal human reaction, Peter cried out, “Lord, save me.” This response was not a response of faith, but one of survival; however, it was at this cry that Jesus stretched forth His hand to save Peter.
My friend, Jesus had every right to let Peter sink in the water. Peter doubted the Saviour when He confirmed it was He who was walking on the water. Peter’s faith in the Saviour was replaced with doubt in the Saviour. Yet, though Peter didn’t believe the Saviour, Jesus was still willing to stretch forth His hand to save Peter with the purpose of letting his faith grow.
You will never build others in the faith if you are not willing to be the first to stretch forth your hand to help those who have fallen in sin. People are going to doubt you and what you are trying to do, but you cannot take it personally. You are going to have to realize that as people grow, they will have times when their faith lapses because of doubt. Doubt will set in, and when doubt sets in, sin is always the result. Sin is always the result of a life of doubt; whereas, great spiritual works are the result of faith. If you want to be a life-builder, you are going to have to be willing to stretch forth your hand to help others when doubt replaces their faith.
Moreover, you must be the first one to stretch forth your hand. Jesus stretched forth His hand to catch Peter. In other words, Peter had yet to try to grab the Master; he was only crying for help. You are going to have to be the bigger person and be the first to help those who may have doubted you and what the LORD is doing through you. God cannot use you to build lives if you hold grudges against others. You are going to have to be willing to forgive others and stretch forth your hand to bring them back if you want God to use you as a life and faith-builder.
Are you willing to stretch forth your hand to help those whose faith has been replaced with doubt which resulted in their acts of sin? Let me encourage you to be a believer who is first to stretch out your hand to help others who are sinking in their doubt. There is great joy you will receive by seeing those you helped serving the LORD in years to come.