When Christ answered “come”, Peter came “down out of the ship, [and] walked on the water, to go to Jesus”. (Matthew 14:28-29)
There are many amazing elements to this story. Most often, what people like to observe is that when Peter heard the winds and saw the waves that he became afraid and began to sink. I think the greater point is that he was actually walking upon the water! No matter if it was one step or ten, or if he sank quickly or slow, or if he was afraid or of little faith, he actually did walk upon the water. As far as sacred history records, only Jesus Christ and Peter have ever done so.
When Christ caught him as he sank, I believe his faith was restored. He walked out there, he knew he could do it, and one can only marvel that Peter most probably walked back to the ship upon the water.
But, my point is this, that unless Peter had seen the Master walking upon the water, Peter could not have even conceived the idea of walking upon the water, let alone had the faith to do so.
For almost two-hundred years there has been a moratorium upon sharing grand spiritual experiences. We are told “Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know.” This is actually a Chinese proverb from “Tao Te Ching”. The rest of the proverb says “Close your mouth, block off your sense, blunt your sharpness, untie your knots, soften your glare, settle your dust.” In other words, stop talking and listen. Or as the kids of today say, “Calm your storm.”
How it came in this latter-day world to mean that personal and glorious spiritual experiences should not be shared, and if someone is sharing them they’re being inappropriate, is hard to tell. But, it is not true in my opinion. Those who know should talk when inspired, and we should not dismiss such things because of a Chinese proverb.
If Peter had been looking the other way, or asleep in the boat, then his faith and belief would have never blossomed. He had to see such a thing to believe it because belief limits us to our own definition of possible. The only reason he knew he could was because he saw Jesus doing it, and then asked and received permission to do it himself.
We are not so different from Peter. When we see someone work a miracle by the priesthood, when we hear by spiritual ears of a miracle or great manifestation, then our faith is empowered to do the same. Without that witness, without seeing and knowing that someone else did these great things in the storms of their lives, we most often lack the faith to do so in ours. In fact, this is the power of the scriptures, that someone did it before us. This is the power that is so dramatically shut off when “those who know don’t talk.”
Imagine a priesthood meeting in some millennial day where Peter, now resurrected, takes a High Priest group to a nearby lake and turning to face them says, “Brethren, today’s lesson is on walking on the water, and here is how it is done.” With that, he takes ten steps upon the water, then returns and says, “Now you do it.” I think all of us would go home wet from the first few tries, but like Peter, we would suddenly know that we could because we saw him do it, and we eventually would walk upon the waters ourselves.
I think we are all Peters who would happily walk upon the water if we knew how. The UnBlog has taught me that I am not alone in the desire to do so. So many of us have read the scriptural promises, or believed the words of sacred ceremony, and are seeking to claim them all, sometimes without the approval of spouse, friends or family, and we desperately wish someone who actually knew how, would just speak up. I hope you realize that you are not alone in your drive to seek and obtain greater things, those things which “eye has not seen, nor yet entered into the heart of man”. But, when the eye of faith does see fellow pilgrims walking upon the water, then it does enter into the heart, and after some spectacular failures and serious dog-paddling, we do eventually find ourselves walking upon the waters heedless of the storms around us.
© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.