Would I?*

Jesus waits, steady on the shifting water, his feet caressed by slow lapping waves that hide the depths of darkness below. He sees the fishing vessel and looks for Peter. Under that sparkled sky, silently expectant, the Son of Man knows the miracle will happen.

Or does he? Humans are untrusting and untrustworthy creatures, lacking in faith, enchained by the mundane, blindly obeying the laws of physics, of society, and of religion, even though they are blessed by choice, freedom, possibility, and hope. Humans frequently, even usually, let God down.

But Peter, grasping at last the fullness of Truth, rejecting finally his fear, breathing deeply as if for the first time, grips the boat’s gunwales and steps boldly onto water. As called.  As required. And stands, eyes wide, pulse smooth, in the impossibility of God’s grace.

This one moment, this one choice, this one decision, this eternal memory, lives in the hearts of believers forever, empowering all risk takers, rule-breakers and faith seekers for generations to come.  For the ones who speak for change, for the ones who stand for justice, for the ones who work for peace, for the ones who won’t give up – for all of them, for himself, for God – Peter walks on water.

It doesn’t last of course.  Behind him in the boat, the other disciples, the friends of Jesus, quake in fright, trembling in terror, shouting loudly that it isn’t possible, that Peter will drown, and refuse to join in and step foot out of the boat. And Peter, although he wants to believe and struggles to make the moment last by desperately clinging to his splintering faith, begins to doubt and starts to sink.

Jesus’ hand snaps forward, quickly reaching, firmly catching, and pulls Peter back from the abyss. Gasping and still wide-eyed, believing and doubting together, all at once, Peter, the repeatedly redeemed one, the frequent failure, standing for all humanity, looks not at the water, not at the boat, not at the stars, not anywhere else, but at the hand of God that holds his own.

And the question that returns ever again, that nags and persists always and forever, to each generation, to each individual, to me, is this: if God asked me to do the impossible, if God beckoned me to come to him, if God suggested that I embrace the absurd, if God required me to ignore all human wisdom, all experience, all history, all law—if God called me to walk on water—would I trust in his hand and give it a try?


*The original title is “God’s Hand.”
Reprinted from Soul Side: Articles of Faith, by Catherine Cavanagh (Gaithersburg, MD: Butternut Press, 2010) Used by permission of the author.

7 Responses to “Would I?*”

  1. Rhonda says:

    These words could not have come at a more perfect time. My thanks to the author who listened and tuned to God’s sound and to Weavings who had the wisdom to select this to appear today.

  2. As St. Teresa of Avila says,”I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.”

  3. John Manahan says:

    A question that will haunt me and confound me for some time.

  4. leotia Howard says:

    Now I have something to ponder.

  5. Yes, I would trust His hand and walk. I’d feel the burning inside and take the leap… have done it for 37 years.

  6. roland rink says:

    i’d much rather be sorry i “took a leap of faith” than be eternally sorry i didn’t……

  7. Susie Q says:

    And in this human world, that could mean what SOUNDSI easy enough. But in reality, how many times do we listen to the chatter of weak believers? Even close bonds are severed in the name of love and loyalty; good people allow themselves to unlearn what’s real and learn new patterns of torn loyalties, “one- up” manship, trust replaced by doubt–becoming nothing short of gang war. Who has the courage and humility to step out of the boat, go a person betrayed and admit evil power that collects despise for one who deserves trust, love, loyalty?Being too busy is “laziness” and naysayers win. “We lock the door, and we’re the ones missing out, ” their father ( The Father)said when he came to one broken-hearted.
    Then on icontinues through generations to come– because not one in the boat will budge from stubbornness and give it a try. To consider perhaps naysayers are based on lack of faith and the need to bolster themselves in their insecurities, is too difficult. Sooo …busy. Who has time to consider reality? That might mean questioning their lack of love and humility, things all humans grow with maturity. To get out of boat and speak for justice , love, forgiveness might come from considering facts vs hearsay. One might even look back and remember good things. and the nudge of God rather then nudge of the devil. Petty incidents, even the one or two or three that crushed human souls– didn’t happen, or not in the negative way it was reported ( in order for disorder). God’s children must learn it for themselves. They will only do so if strong enough.

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