Friday, June 6, 2014

On being as dumb as Peter by: Gillian Marchenko

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said,“Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[c] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying,“Truly you are the Son of God.”

I've read this story a lot, but upon reading it the other day, I couldn't help but laugh.

My first thought? Peter is a dummy.

Jesus is right in front of him walking on water, and he still needs proof that he is the Son of God. So he asks him to prove himself once again and Jesus tells him to walk out to him.

Peter gets out of the boat and starts to walk towards Jesus, but then he looks around and notices the waves and starts to sink.

U'hum, I do this exact thing all the time.

And let me just say, walking on water isn't normal. It isn't something humans do. This story tells me that God calls us to big things outside of our comfort zone. He wants to increase our faith.

This thought, that God calls us to things, and then helps us with those things, wakes me up a bit. It helps me in terms of parenting kids with special needs, with my marriage, with ministry in our church, with my depression, and writing.

These days, everything I do is out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone is my worn brown chair passed down from my grandfather. My comfort zone is my yoga pants and steaming cups of coffee. My comfort zone is watching The Undercover Boss and breathing, while I wait for waves of depression to subside in my heart.

But no, God wants me to get out of the boat. He wants me to write books and talk to people about my struggles. He wants me to put on jeans, brush my hair, and to share him with others, regardless of my comfort in the matter.

Where I'm at today

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Instead of looking to Jesus in the things he has called me to do, I look around... What do other people think of me? I'm not qualified for this. He isn't really going to help me with this, is he?

Every time I start to sink.

And all the while Jesus is right there in arm's reach, waiting for me. He'll let me tread water for a while. But once I get it and call out to him, he picks me up and sticks me safely in the boat.

So who's the dummy? The person who gets out of the boat, falters, and splashes around like she is drowning? Or the person who stays comfortable, who doesn't put her faith into action, who is happy with her brown chair and Netflix?

I guess Peter isn't really a dummy. He had doubts and questions, but at least he got out of the boat.

"Truly you are the Son of God."

Gillian Marchenko has given birth in three places, the most interesting being Kiev, Ukraine. She is an author and national speaker who focuses on imperfect faith, special needs, depression, and deep belly laughs. Gillian's memoir Sun Shine Down published in August of 2013 (T. S. Poetry Press) and she is currently working on another memoir about depression and faith (InterVarsity Press). Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, includingChicago Parent, Literary Mama, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, MomSense Magazine, The Lookout, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record. She lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. You can find Gillian on any given Sunday bouncing a toddler on her knee in the back row of the church her husband pastor's while giving her older girls the look. Gillian says the world is full of people who seem to have it all together. She speaks up for the rest of us. Get to know Gillian more on Facebook or at her website

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