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testwatersA few years ago I heard a different interpretation of the “walking on water” incident (MT 14:22-36) where Jesus (who has not been with the disciples in the boat) tells Peter to come to him across the water once they have recognized that it is, in fact, Jesus and not a ghost. Peter, ever the impulsive one, jumps in and starts walking but when he realizes what he’s doing – which is impossible – he begins to sink. After Jesus catches him he asks Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Traditionally, that has been seen as the set-up for Peter’s declaration of faith in Jesus: “Truly you are the Son of God.” Certainly that may be exactly what Matthew intended, but here’s the other idea that I (and maybe you) have heard. What if Jesus is asking Peter why he doubted himself? Walking on water is certainly as outrageous an idea as passing out food to over 5,000 people when you’re starting with five loaves and two fishes – but what if that is the question? Once again, maybe Jesus was asking those he journeyed with to be ready for whatever was to come, totally confident that God would give them the grace, the strength, to do whatever was necessary in each situation. In that case, it would not be a passive “God, take care of this for me” but rather a case of “I can do this – and all things – in the one who strengthens me.”

What if that is still the question and we are the ones needing to answer God in our lives? Why are we still doubting ourselves?

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