I often wonder how we’ve done it, how we’ve continued life through life. I’m in awe that we’re all here when I can barely stand to get up. I’m thankful they were not like me, because I couldn’t have done it. I hardly think I can do it. I hardly think I can get up at all sometimes. How did they continue even though they didn’t know? How can you go where you don’t know where you’re going? Then… then… where are you going? Bold, young spirits who sweep into the darkness without a moment’s hesitation! I imagine the sailors thirsty for adventure jumped eagerly onto their boats. But where to? a New World?
I can’t say I would have been one who bravely thrusted forward. I can hardly imagine how they gulped down the lump in their throat. I can’t seem to get mine down. It grows like a tumor in my throat, choking me, this terror. The unknown. The darkness. the blankness.
But they call it a new world.
a better world.
Even when I thought I knew where I was going I’d be gripped by doubt. Doubt which pervaded my soul and caused me grief, ye of little faith. I can hardly stand the words.
But faith, like bravery, is not summoned in the mass of hearts. I spent years trying to cough up a little, only to look up and realize what a fool I was being. Cats and dogs, cats and dogs. We are what we are, and the sinner is the sinner, the saint the saint, the cat the cat—and the unfaithful cannot summon faith. You must believe in something to summon it, and I believe not a thing.
They tell me that I must have faith. But I do not. How does one summon faith? Where is it? What is it? The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. I have neither—assurance and conviction come not to my side.
Only doubt, doubt, doubt…
I cannot take that leap of faith, I cannot will my feet to move. I cannot make myself get out of bed most days. How do you expect me to jump off a cliff. I hear so many voices telling me that it’ll be safe, but to me they sound like madmen. I can see the ream of film now from Indiana Jones, where he bravely jumps onto the invisible bridge. I can see Abraham holding his knife over his son. I can see Peter coming out of the boat.
I can’t jump. I won’t jump. I like to know where my feet will lay before I step. Maybe I can be brave then when I walk. But what’s brave about stepping into what you know?
I’m selfish and a coward. When Peter began to sink into the sea, how could he bear to take Jesus’ hands? How could he stand having fallen? Surely the waves would have been gracious too.
Ye of little faith, ye of little faith.
I’ve gotten out of the boat a million times, I heard the sermons and walked to the alter as if the aisles were waves. I put my dreams on the stake, forgoing all other plans besides the golden road I aspired towards. And I fell, and I fell, and I fell again. And I never could stop falling, could never stop taking my eyes off of Jesus. And after falling so many times, you don’t get back up. You look God in the face and say, “Well obviously men weren’t supposed to walk on water, otherwise we could do it.”
I bet if Jesus took Peter out on the lake and made him do it again—I wonder if Peter would have fallen again or if he would have confidently looked the Son of God in the eye and walked to him.
Which is worse? Which is better?
Who’s to say?
Peter would have signed up to go to a new world if he would have been born a few centuries later. Some people just have it in them.