This is a fictional retelling of a true story. Click here to read the original text.
We’d been bashed by the sea for nine hours, and all 12 of us had left most of our last meal in the water. Our vision was limited by the night sky, but streaks of light from the heavens collided with earth for miles, declaring the storm’s end was nowhere in sight.
To make matters worse, our Leader sent us off without Him. We were now miles from shore with no plan of meeting back up with Him. I held onto the splintering wood for dear life and thought about how our boat seemed more like a floating tomb than fishing vessel.
I stared through sheets of rain in complete despair. That’s when I saw it—or Him.
I blinked to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I wasn’t. Something—or Someone—gravitated toward us on the water. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
“It’s a ghost!” erupted simultaneously from the other brothers—James and John. In an instant, their claim was confronted by a familiar Voice, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Could it be? I squinted for a better look. I recognized that browned skin and wild hair. Jesus. Before thinking, I cried out, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to You on the water.”
That familiar lure overwhelmed me just like the moment we’d met. He’d said, “Come, follow me” then, and here He was again, using that same simple invitation to call me out of the comforts of the possible.
I just had to be near Him.
The storm around me was a minute detail as one leg followed the other and dangled over the boat’s edge. A moment later I left its illusion of safety and stood up with my eyes locked and level with Jesus. As the world raged around us, we stood on the stirring water as if it were as solid as the ground we dined on just hours before. I began to move toward Him.
One step. Two steps. Then steps three and four. I wasn’t just standing on water; I was walking on it.
I looked back at the 11 whose wide eyes gawked at the sight of the impossible playing out before them. That’s when the rain and the wind and the waves came back into view and panic overtook me.
Their eyes declared what I knew to be true—I shouldn’t be upright out here. It didn’t make sense. I was breaking all laws of nature.
And then I wasn’t.
I sank and the waves fought to take me under for good. Arms flailing and gasping for air, I was helpless and surely at my end. The waves broke and I used all my strength to shout, hoping my cries rang out above the pounding rain.
And there His hand was—firm and calloused from years’ worth of carpentry. An offer of salvation from an unexpected place paired with a compassionate challenge, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
It’s then that I remembered the character of the One who called me to walk on water.
I’d seen His kindness heal the sick, refute the Pharisee and feed the hungry. Foolish me. I should have known to trust Him when He called me to defy the wind and waves.
As we hoisted ourselves back into the boat’s grasp, the storm stopped in submission to Jesus. Seemingly in tandem, pastel bursts of pinks and purples accompanied the morning sun’s march over the eastern hills … casting a reflection of celebratory colors across the now glassy waters.
We'd witnessed lepers cleansed, meals multiplied and now this. Even the forces of nature danced according to His command, and it was time we did too. The 12 of us fell to our knees in worship.
Jesus was who He claimed to be—the very Son of God. And I wouldn’t doubt Him again … or so I thought.