“When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).
In this passage, we find the disciples in a boat as Jesus walked toward them on the water. When Peter began to walk toward Jesus on the water, he was fine until his attention was drawn away from Jesus to the storm. Then he became afraid and started to sink.
If Peter had kept his attention upon Christ (the source of his strength and the solution to his problem), he would have been all right. But when he focused upon the wind and the waves (the problem and the negative aspect of his circumstances), he became overwhelmed by the problem, even though he could have made it safely to Jesus.
Fear and worry are like that. We focus so hard on the problem that we take our eyes off the solution and thus create more difficulties for ourselves. We can be sustained in the midst of any difficulty by focusing our attention on the Lord and relying upon Him instead of upon ourselves: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is…. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:7,9).
Peter must have learned from his experience of walking on the water, because he later wrote: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Cast means “to give up” or “to unload.” We are to unload on God our tendency to worry, so that when problems arise, we will not worry about them. We can cast our worry on God with confidence, because He cares for us. He knows our limits, and “a bruised reed shall He not break” (Isaiah 42:3).
Isaiah rejoiced to the Lord, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). Whatever you choose to think about will either produce or dismiss feelings of anxiety and worry. God has made the provision, but you must take the action. Center your thoughts on God, not on worry.
—Condensed from Overcoming Fear and Worry by Norman H. Wright.