Saturday, June 19, 2004

Okay...here's the third and final part of my story:


Part Three

All the disciples were shouting and screaming. Matthew buried his head in his hands and sobbed.

"It's the angel of death!" shouted Bartholomew.

"It's the ghost of old man Jacobus! He drowned out here three years ago! He's coming to take us with him!" screamed another.

"This can't be happening." Thomas kept repeating in a shrill voice.

Andrew was stamping his feet and shouting "I TOLD you this was a bad idea!!"

"You guys should calm down...it's just me." the figure called out to them.

A paralyzed silence fell over the disciples as they stared across the water at the man. There was no mistaking the voice. Mouths hung open as their minds clawed around, grasping for a rational context for these events.

"No way. There's no way that's Jesus" Thomas said, half to himself.
The man had stopped walking and now stood about twenty yards out from the boat, rising and falling as the swells passed underneath him.

Peter’s mind was racing. None of this made sense, but none of what he’d experienced in the last year was exactly normal. When he heard the voice, he knew it was Jesus. In a burst of lightning, he had been able to discern the face. All evidence told him it was Jesus, except for where he was standing. Peter never expected to see him there. But Peter had never expected most of the things that had happened since he’d met Jesus. IN a flash of inspiration, he called out to the figure.

“Jesus, if that’s you, let me come out there to you!”

The moment the words left his lips he was sorry he’d said it, but it was too late. The other disciples stared at him with dismay.

“C’mon out my friend.” Jesus said.

A flash of lightening revealed a broad smile on Jesus’ face, and Peter could’ve sworn he saw him wink. Moving like a man in a dream, Peter swung his legs over the side of the boat. The water rose up the sides as the weight of the craft shifted, and it felt just like ordinary water to him. It felt like liquid. He gave a glance back at the other disciples, and then looked back out over the water.

“Peter, are you NUTS?! Get back in the boat!!” Andrew shouted out.

“I must be out of my mind” Peter muttered to himself as he drew his breath in gulps, and quickly shoved himself off the edge of the boat and into the water.

The disciples were all shouting and screaming again. Peter reached out with his hands, expecting to drop into deep water, his body bracing to be submerged. But he didn’t go under. In fact, it felt as though he was standing up in ankle deep water. This was so unexpected that he immediately lost his balance, and stumbled forward a few steps. When he caught himself, he began taking steps forward toward Jesus. Everything felt like slow motion, and he could hear his own breathing loudly in his ears.

Though he stood on something solid, he felt no texture of sand or mud under his feet. The solid footing seemed to move with him, so that he never went deeper in the water than his ankles. As the water rose in waves, he traveled upward, and descended as the wave passed. His heart nearly beat out of his chest as the excitement of this impossible experience spread through his mind.

Peter took a few furtive steps further from the boat, toward Jesus. Jesus was laughing out loud now, and it was infectious. Peter’s face broke out in a beaming grin in response. He was so caught up in the wonder of the moment, he had completely forgotten about the storm all around them. He didn’t notice that the waves were building again, or that the wind had picked up. In the thrill of the moment, he threw his arms out and began to do a sort of shuffle dance out on the waves. Snapping his fingers and shimmying his chest, he slowly rotated around until he was facing back toward the boat.

Lightening arched across the sky and in its light Peter saw how far he was from the boat, and how big the waves had gotten. With a start, his mind was whipped back to the reality of his situation.

This was stupid. This was dangerous and unreasonable. He had no business being there. The more he thought about it, the crazier it seemed. Maybe they were on a sandbar, maybe Jesus was playing some kind of practical joke on him and the others. To his horror, Peter realized that the water was up to his knees, and the solid footing he had sensed was beginning to feel mushy.

Peter was sinking.

Whirling back around, he called out to Jesus, “Master, HELP!!”
It was all he had time to say. He had already gone down to his neck, his hands above his head, when a wave rolled through and covered him.

Peter was screaming under water, and air bubbles danced around his face. His arms were still upright and protruding from the surface, when he felt a strong hand grip his own. He could feel himself being lifted up, and suddenly felt the same solid footing beneath him.

Jesus pulled him up, holding him by the hand. This time, Peter saw that his feet were all the way out of the water. He reached with his free arm and held on to Jesus’ hand with both of his own. Coughing and sputtering, Peter said, “Thank you!” over and over again.

Jesus locked his eyes on Peter, and leaning in closely, said with a smile, “Hey little faith, why’d you quit believing?”

Peter didn’t answer. He didn’t know. He assumed it was the waves and wind (that’s what he’d tell everyone later on), but the waves and wind had been there all along. Perhaps it was a change of perspective that threw him. He wasn’t sure he’d ever know.

“C’mon”, said Jesus, and led Peter by the hand back to the boat. As they stepped into the boat, the rest of the disciples instinctively backed away to make room. None of them said a word. In open-mouthed wonder, they all just sat and stared at Peter and Jesus. After a while, James leaned forward and whispered to Andrew, “The wind.”

Andrew looked around him. He hadn’t even realized it, but the sky was clearing, the sea had laid down, and the storm had stopped. This was another in a series of impossibilities which wrecked Andrew’s intellect. He groaned, and looked back at James.

“Where do we go from here?” he rasped, almost pleading.

“To our knees, my friend, to our knees” said James, his eyes bright with tears.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Just a quick update...out in So Cal for a senior pastor's conference for Calvary Chapel. Had a lot of time to work on part three of my story, will upload it when I get back. Having fun, but missing home.

God is good, and up to good things. Will update upon my return.