DON’T BE AFRAID TO LEAVE COMFORT ZONE!

One of the Biblical narratives that took place around the Sea of Galilee was when Jesus appeared to the disciples. They were terrified upon seeing Jesus walking toward them on the lake. They thought He was a ghost.  They only calmed down upon knowing that it was Jesus who told them that it was Him.

Peter demonstrated trust and enthusiasm by going out of the boat to join Jesus. Peter was confident that Jesus would not let him drown. Peter took risk by getting out of the boat. A boat is a place of safety, stability, and comfort in the middle of a vast body of water.  The act of getting out of the boat is an act of leaving a place of comfort. It requires strength and ability to take risks. It was an act of faith in the case of Peter who wanted to be closer to Jesus.

In reflecting on this scenario, we must ask, do we also take risks and step out from our comfort zone to follow Jesus? Do we embark on a journey to something new that would allow us to move to a new level of consciousness and relationship with God?

It is very easy to be trapped in a place of comfort. It can be tempting to remain in our habits and in our daily routines.  As a result, we may be afraid to take risks to better our lives or to strengthen our faith.  We may be going in and out of the Church on Sundays just to comply with our obligation. We may just live our lives following a set of rules without the awareness and realization of the meaning and beauty of our undertakings. If this is the case, we may not be able to grow in faith, holiness, confidence, and strength.

Our faith requires us to take calculated risks and get beyond our comfort zone to discover God in our lives.  Peter shows courage and faith when he walked out of the boat in a way that the other disciples did not.

We are invited to follow the example of Peter to take a leap of faith and relate to the concrete and lived reality of the world. The opportunities are vast. It may be to take a break from our normal routine and spend time for solitude. It may be an effort to change our bad habits. It may be a visit to prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and other places where people are longing to find hope and love. These works may help us see and experience the workings of God in our lives.

The story of Peter getting out of the boat to follow the Lord was not a “walk in the park.” Faith does not guarantee a good life. God does not promise tomorrow; He promises eternity.  However, Jesus assures us that He will always stretch His arms to us when we need them.

The first act of Jesus to save Peter from drowning was to hold Peter’s arms.  Jesus could have simply commanded the strong wind to stop. He has the power to do so because He is God. He has control of the natural order. However, Jesus chose to extend His hand and hold Peter to keep him from drowning. This is a gesture of love, reassurance, and care. Peter felt God’s love when Jesus came, held him, and saved him from drowning.  Jesus indeed is more interested in creating relationships with Him and with one another.

We may experience hardship in our desire to leave our comfort zone, to better our lives, to establish or fix broken relationships and to become closer to God.  However, our challenges may be an opportunity to help us focus and feel the loving hands of God to keep us from drowning.   At times, we may experience doubt. We may let fear overpower us and we may begin to sink into the depths.  However, it is reassuring to know that even with doubt, Jesus remains with us.

At one point, Jesus chided Peter for his unbelief, as he said, “You of little faith.”  Jesus wanted to correct rather than condemn Peter. Jesus does not want to embarrass Peter for his failure, but to encourage him to a stronger faith in the future.[1]

If we take a leap of faith and work on our doubts, we can make it back into a place of comfort with much joy and fulfillment. We will all pass the storm of life just as Peter did when he was saved by Jesus from drowning in the Lake during the strong wind.  The story ended up with Jesus bringing Peter back into the boat, into the place of comfort, stability, and peace. Jesus secured Peter with His loving care.

The Lord always reaches out and saves the faithful from drowning in seas of moral danger.[2]  When Jesus holds us in a place of peace, we experience a renewed and deeper meaning of faith as the disciples affirmed Jesus by saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”[3]

____________________________________________________________

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of Mathew, (Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 192.

[2] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, 193.

[3] Matthew 14:33.

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