When I come across Matthew 14:22-33, that is, the gospel account of how Jesus walked upon the waters, I get a bitter-sweet reminder of my journey through college while studying Civil Engineering.
I’m one of those people who wasn’t that bad at school but has a constant habit of repeating courses over the summer break. This stemmed from my struggle with laziness and procrastination. Whether there was an upcoming exam or project, one could expect me to start preparing at the last possible moment. Exams were taken with only five minutes of review and projects were started a day before the deadline. Even our group senior thesis (yup, birds of the same feather do fly together) was not safe. We finished it a minute before having to present it. It’s no wonder why I finished Civil Engineering two semesters longer than the average student.
These procrastinating did not end with my graduation. After getting a temporary job in education, I began studying for my licensure exams. Of course, that’s when my procrastinating restarted. It was two months before the exam, I haven’t yet begun to review. I was trapped in telling myself, “there is still time”. In the end, I still took the exam. But as one can guess with only 3 days of studying, I failed.
At that moment, I became depressed and discouraged. I struggled to pick myself back up and to give it a second try. After some time had gone by, I remembered the passage from Matthew 14:22-33. Coincidentally I was taking a bath, I felt like just like Peter. Except I wasn’t drowning in water but the struggles of my current life situation. I was beginning to drown in the sea of life. I was too afraid to even move. Slowly, the waters were beginning to overtake me…
That’s when it hit me. As if extending His hands to me, God made me realize. Although I felt like I was drowning, I was not alone. He is reaching out to me and I just have to grab His hand.
At one time, while the disciples are on a boat, they saw Jesus walking upon the waters. Not knowing that it was Jesus, they were very afraid. So, Jesus called out to them. Peter, seeing that the Lord is walking on water, asked Jesus to bid him walk towards Him upon the waters. The Lord bid him come closer and walk, so Peter walked out of the boat. He did, at first, managed to walk towards Him. However, as he saw the waters around him, as he heard the thunder crash, as he started fearing, and began to sink. In that moment, Peter was petrified by fear, and all he could do was ask the Lord for help. Of course, the Lord came to the rescue. He grabbed Peter’s hand and saved him. This was the part where I heard God’s whisper.
Like Peter, I am walking through the waters of life. I am walking towards the Lord. But then, I lost my focus. I saw the waters, I saw the storm and began to sink.e. I called out upon the Lord. And as He had always done before, through my five years in college and my 22 years in life, He pulled me and saved me from the waters that drown me.
All we need is a little faith. Focus on Jesus. Look straight ahead. No time for procrastinating, we should take steps and move forward. Towards Him. And towards where He wants us. And don’t worry about sinking. After all, if ever we lose courage and sink, remember: Our Lifeguard, truly walks upon the water.
After that, I decided to retake my exams. It was still hard. But I was no longer alone. And this time, I finally did it. No, that’s not the proper phrase… This time, as He had always done before, my Lord really did pull me out of the waters!
By Gerald Jay Binuya, 21, Philippines
Catholic Civil Engineer