Last week I was trying to help my 3-year-old, Vivi, get over her fear of the water. She’s fine where she can touch and doesn’t mind going under, but is petrified of the deep. Countless times, I would hold her hands as she jumped in to me, proving myself trustworthy. She would eventually get brave enough to jump to me without holding hands. But then, for no apparent reason, the fear would creep back in and she would need to hold hands again.
Yesterday, we reflected on the story of Jesus walking on the water. Matthew’s gospel gives us the added detail about Peter getting a bit saucy… “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” You know the bit. Peter starts walking, but when he sees the wind, his fear gets the best of him and he begins to sink. But “immediately,” Jesus catches him. Just as I would have caught Vivi. Just as He will always catch you.
I’m reminded of Dumbo, the flying elephant with the “magic” feather. He thinks as long as he holds tight to that feather he can fly, but when the wind catches the feather, Dumbo starts to nose-dive. That feather could represent anything that we put misplaced faith in or cling to excessively for false life—food, alcohol, work, TV, sports, shopping, internet, etc. I once heard that anything you fear losing could be considered an idol. Dumbo sure feared losing that feather, because without it, he felt out of control. Peter started out with bold faith, but when things got shaky and he realized he wasn’t in control, he faltered. Jesus asks him, “Why did you doubt?”
We don’t need a feather. We don’t need control. All we need is God to soar! “Well I be done seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly!”