January 22 - Within Arm's Reach

By David Thomas

Devotional Scripture: Matthew 14:28-31

Central Thought: God is never any further away than we can reach.

    Before I share my favorite part of this story, let me first say this about Peter—I admire his courage. Sure we see in verse 30 that he became afraid, but I admire him for getting out of the boat to begin with. If you want to talk about a bold first step, talk about Peter's. So I guess it is difficult for me to point a finger in blame at Peter's fear once he was out on the water. That makes it even more interesting to consider the circumstances that caused his sinking fear.

    The best we can tell from this passage is that nothing around Peter changed once he exited the boat. The text does not say that the wind picked up or that the waves began to roar, or anything of that nature. Nothing seems to have changed…except Peter's focus.  Peter became afraid when he turned his eyes, and thus his thoughts, away from Jesus and toward the circumstances. How far would Peter have walked atop the water if he had stayed focused on Jesus? For all we know, he might have trekked a few laps around the Sea of Galilee. But instead, he became so aware of his surroundings—and no doubt began thinking there was no human way he could complete the walk of faith he had started—that he began to sink.

    And that leads to my favorite part of this story. How far away was Jesus? He was within arm's reach. When Peter began to sink, all Jesus had to do was reach out and grab him. That encourages me to know that when I turn my vision and my thoughts toward the seemingly impossible circumstances surrounding me, Jesus is within arm's reach. He will not let me sink. All I have to do is turn my attention back toward Him, and He is there, ready to save me.

Devotional Prayer: Dear Lord, when I reach out to you, please grasp my hand.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13