Matter of Sinking
Throughout the course of our lives,
we all come to places where that ‘sinking feeling’ begins to set in due
to tough circumstances. When the believer in Jesus gets that sinking
feeling, his default response ought to be a request for saving from the
Lord Jesus. In Matthew 14, scripture records the incident
where Peter, bidden by
Jesus to “Come!” walk with him on a boisterous sea, did so in faith.
But Peter got more than a sinking feeling. When fear set in, he began
to physically sink.
Matthew gives us this account: “But
when he [Peter] saw the wind
boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to SINK, he cried, saying,
Lord, SAVE me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and
CAUGHT him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst
thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31).
The verb “sink” is passive voice, signifying the sea was literally
manhandling Peter, who was now on the receiving end of turmoil over
which moments earlier he had demonstrated mastery. Isn’t it amazing how
fast fear can transform confidence into cowardice? The word
itself has a prefix (‘kata’) meaning ‘down’ and signifies
‘domination’ or ‘submersion’. The verb is present tense, which bids us
envision the real-time downward movement of Peter as he sinks lower and
lower into the water.
The current COVID-19 crisis is a boisterous sea rocking America in real
time. Some of those affected are God’s children, who’ve lost their health,
jobs, income, etc. Like Peter of old, Jesus bids them walk on the
choppy waters. While we dare not minimize the HARM the virus has done,
we also dare not minimize the HELP God makes available to his own in
the midst of our trouble.
The verb “caught” means “to lay hold upon [with the hand], to seize.”
It is middle voice, which signifies a reflexive action (i.e., in the
‘catching’ or seizing’ of Peter to prevent him going under, our Lord’s
action was intended to bring some benefit back to himself). I believe
the middle voice here signifies at least two benefits. When Jesus stretched
forth his hand and ‘caught’ Peter in middle voice, he did so that (1)
GLORY might redound back to him for the deliverance he provided, and
(2) PLEASURE might redound back to him: that is, Jesus found pleasure, a measure of personal satisfaction,
in coming to the rescue of one of his children even though a faith failure
on Peter’s part precipitated the need for rescue.
This is ALWAYS the case when one of God’s own, who’s in the process of
sinking under the circumstances of life, cries out to Jesus for saving.
First, the end result of the SALVATION Jesus provides MUST be HIS
EXALTATION! If we ask for any reason other than this, we ask amiss
(James 4:3). Secondly, we must NEVER believe Jesus is reluctant to
rescue us. He derives PLEASURE when he CATCHES one of his own without regard
for the cause behind our tough circumstances. Jesus derives GLORY and
PLEASURE from every rescue he performs!
The COVID-19 virus is no respector of persons. It’s dishing out HARM to
the saved and lost alike. But there is HELP from the HAND of Jesus for his
people. When that sinking feeling begins to set in, a simple three-word prayer
might be all that’s needed to secure divine assistance. If “Lord, save me!”
worked for Peter, is there any reason to think it wouldn’t work for
No one can predict just HOW Jesus will catch
us. The important thing is
that we get caught! And the way we ensure his SAVING for our SINKING is
to desire nothing less than HIS GLORY as the end result!