Matthew 14:28-31 (NKJV): And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 17:20 (NKJV): So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
When I was younger, I remember asking my mom about these two scriptures. They seemed to be contradictory. In the first one, Jesus seemed to be reprimanding Peter for having little faith, and yet He would later tell the disciples that they only needed faith as small as a mustard seed. My mom explained that in the first instance, the issue wasn’t about the size of Peter’s faith, it was that he doubted. His little faith had enabled him walk on the water and it could even move a mountain, as Jesus later mentioned. However, his little faith could not accommodate any doubt. As soon as he doubted, His faith went out the window and he started to sink.
A while back, I think in 2008, I was at home (in Kiambu, where I grew up). We had a water tank that collected rain water to use for our drinking and cooking needs. It hadn’t rained for a while, so the water was running out. Our house keeper was worried. It was evening and we’d drawn the last of the water from the tank. She was concerned that we would soon have to make that long trip to the village spring, Temega, to draw water for our consumption needs. I was not the least bit worried. When I she mentioned it to me, I told her that the water running out meant it was going to rain that night… And it did.
In the scriptures above, the disciples had been with Jesus witnessing miracle after miracle. They knew His power and what He was capable of. That’s why Peter had the boldness to step out of that boat and walk on water. When he was focused on his faith in Jesus, he did the impossible, but when doubt came… When I really think about it, I don’t think he saw the winds and waves and doubted Jesus’ ability to keep him going. I mean, he was literally standing on water at the time. I think that what happened is that he started to doubt his own ability. This is what doubt does. When you’re believing God for something, healing for instance, you know that He is able to do it. You also know that he is willing to heal since He has said so numerous times in scripture. Doubt comes when you start thinking about yourself and your problem. Both of which, when you think about it, are inconsequential in light of God’s ability.
As I have been meditating on this, I have come to conclude that doubt is a lie. When you know that you have no power in yourself to make miracles happen, and you know that it is only by believing in God’s power that you can see said miracles, then doubt really doesn’t make any sense. My challenge for us today is to take that mustard seed faith and sow it in Christ. He will take care of tending to it and I can watch it grow into a mighty tree.