Doubting Yourself or God? (Matthew 14:31)


Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk on the water of the Sea of Galilee and come to Him. He did walk on the water for a few steps, but then, he was distracted by the winds over the sea and began to sink. In desperation, he cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus responded and asked Peter this penetrating question.

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “ O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

What did Peter doubt? Did he doubt himself and his own faith? Did he doubt Jesus and His ability to save him? Was it both? Neither?

When we doubt ourselves, we are doubting God’s ability to work in our lives and transform us into the image of His Son. Thus when God places trials and tribulations in our path, it is to instruct us, humble us, and drive us to the realization that we need to be totally dependent upon God, each and every moment of our life.

Did Peter learn from this incident? Years later, an elderly Peter wrote,

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:12-13

Peter was transformed by his relationship with Jesus Christ. A fisherman with a penchant for speaking without thinking and acting without hesitating. He would boldly proclaim to Jesus that he would never deny Him, even if he had to die with Him. Even after the crucifixion, he was found huddling and afraid with the other disciples until Jesus appeared to them. Once he truly realized and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and received the Holy Spirit, he became transformed, empowered, and emboldened. There was nothing that could stand in his way. No obstacle, chains, or persecution could stop him. When Jesus said, “Go!”, Peter finally responded in the manner that met God’s expectations. When he sank in the Sea of Galilee, he sank because he did not allow himself to completely trust in God.  At the end of his life, Peter could now confidently write that all the seeming obstacles and trials that were placed in his path were there for the sole purpose of allowing him to become more like Jesus. And Peter did follow Jesus’ commands, to the last day of his life.

When Jesus says “Go!”, how do we respond? How many transformative moments must we experience before we realize that we need to completely yield our will to Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior? God’s patience with us is limitless. Will you claim His promises as your own?

Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.