Eyes on God



He stood on the diving board, his goggles pulled over his eyes, his puddle jumper strapped around his chest – and a pool noodle held in his arms.

“You can do it!” My husband and I encouraged our little one as he contemplated jumping into the water below.

Our adventure-seeking son had watched his cousins perform tricks off the diving board all afternoon, and he wanted to join in their fun. However, as he paused on the edge instead of plunging into the pool, his confidence waned and his fears grew. All he saw was water deeper than he is tall; all he heard was the voice of panic inside his head; and all he felt was fear.

“I don’t want to jump.” He backed up and walked toward the shallow end of the pool.

One of Jesus’ disciples felt similar panic as he feared for his safety in the water one dark and stormy night long ago. Jesus had sent the group out to sea while he prayed alone on a mountain nearby. Overnight, the boat drifted from the shore, so he walked on the water to reach his disciples.

Terrified, Peter asked Jesus, “‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ [Jesus] said, ‘Come.’ Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).

Peter was able to do the impossible – what only Jesus could do – when he kept his eyes on our Lord.

However, “…when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:30-31).

When Peter focused on the wind blowing around him and ignored the miracle that Jesus was giving him the ability to walk on water in that moment, he could no longer accomplish God’s will.

When we take our eyes off God and focus on our circumstances instead of His strength, we falter in fear instead of flourishing through faith.

When my son forgot all of the factors that would keep him safe if he chose to jump off the diving board, he lost faith in our combined abilities. If he had seen my husband and me treading water beside the board, heard our voices telling him we would catch him and felt the puddle jumper that would keep him afloat, he would have realized we could do this together.

In our moments of fear, we have to rely on God’s promises:

God is our “refuge and strength” (Psalm 46:1).

He will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

We can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).

A week after our son didn’t believe he could jump off the diving board, we went swimming again. This time, when I asked him if he wanted to jump, he answered with a resounding “Yes!” I swam nearby as he jumped in joyfully, bobbing under water briefly before bouncing back to the surface. He had remembered the truths my husband and I had told him, that we would help him to stay safe, and he trusted us.

The same is true for us in our relationship with God: when we believe our heavenly father’s promises for us and let Him guide our hearts, He will lead us to greater things. We can trust him; and when we follow him, joy abounds.