It is the fourth watch, in our time that would be between 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM, and they see Jesus coming towards them on the water.
How many times have you awaken during the fourth watch? Maybe you stumble to the bathroom, stubbing your toe on the leg of the bed. That is so painful. Maybe you bump into the door or scratch your hand on the light switch. That hurts a lot, too. Then worst of all, you lay back down and cannot fall asleep. This is not going to be a good day if you cannot sleep. After all that has happened to you it is not easy to close your eyes and sleep. You are already thinking of everything that must be done for the day. You find yourself stumbling into the day.
Jesus invited Peter to walk on the water. Jesus simply said “Come.” Peter starts out ok but soon stumbles. He begins to think of the situation he is in, the wind, the waves, the absurdity of walking on water. It cannot be! And he stumbles.
There is something special about the fourth watch. It is dark and quiet. A time to be still and listen. It also has an element of fear because of the darkness. We feel more comfortable in the sunlight.
However, many times God comes to us in the fourth watch, the time we feel most fearful. Perhaps because our senses are most alive and we are receptive to the words, “Be not afraid. It is I!” And God grants us the peace and serenity we desire.
I have often thought the fourth watch to be a holy time. Think about that the next time you wake in the fourth watch. Start with the thought that you are in a holy time – God is with you. He will be there should you stumble.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen