“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’” Matthew 14:28
The Steel of Our Souls
Many years ago, my husband and I had friends who were deaf, but you would never know it. They had worked hard to learn to lip read, and to speak as hearing people speak. Every word was pronounced carefully, and if they had not told us in the beginning that they were deaf, we would not have known. They sat through classes at Shasta College as any hearing person would. Their favorite game to play when they came to visit was Jenga, where you stack wooden blocks in a grid-patterned tower and try to remove them one by one from the interior of the stack so the next person topples the tower when they remove one. We tried to distract them by talking or making noises when it was their turn, but they beat us every time. It turns out they were turning off their hearing aids.
I always thought if God had asked me to choose a disability to live with, I would choose deafness. But blindness? That seems impossibly difficult to me.
Yet this sense of “not seeing” is exactly how we are called to live our lives. In Peter’s case, his sight was a hindrance to walking on water. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’” (verse 30).
Sight can bring fear. This is healthy in the sense of protecting ourselves from avoidable danger. But when Christ calls us to do something that leaves us feeling unprotected, sight becomes a fear-producer.
What was Peter thinking when he told Jesus to command him to walk on water? He was saying, “Prove Yourself, Jesus.” That very day, Peter had witnessed 5,000 people fed with practically nothing. He knew the miraculous power of Christ. He knew Jesus could command and enable him to walk on water. He put the Son of God to the test.
Then Jesus turned the tables on Peter by putting Peter to the test. “Go ahead, walk to Me on the water, Peter.” He, being omniscient, knew Peter would fail. He knew Peter’s walk by faith would become a walk by sight.
Our faith is strong—until the moment it must be strong, and then we switch to what our eyes can see.
Who among us could live well, knowing what tomorrow will bring? What if we knew the hardships to come, the day of our death, the sorrow that awaits us? Would we not carry heavy burdens for which we felt responsible, to be sure they did not come to pass? How could we carry the fear? What would we blame God for, before the grace was given to accept and rejoice over those very events?
We would avoid every life-changing opportunity God would offer.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
We are mercifully spared from seeing even the next moment. We have a choice: will we live according to our overactive imaginations where our “mind’s eye” makes us “see” things that are not real? Or will we choose faith in the One who loves us?
Amy Carmichael said, “Faith is the STEEL of the soul.” It’s what makes us strong and able to move forward even though we walk in blindness.
In the spiritual life, I choose blindness. Deafness would be fatal. If I cannot hear the voice of God—if His Word falls on my deaf ears—then I truly have a disability.
Father, forgive me for being afraid of blindness; I declare that this very dependence upon You is my strength. Amen.