"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water" (Matt. 14:28).
None of us knows what his weaknesses and his powers are, nor how exactly life will test them; but it is quite certain that we shall never know what they are, nor will life's tests teach us anything, unless we aspire to the highest that we know, and are continually testing ourselves by the most lofty professions. To shut out ultimate success through fear of interim failures, to maintain a worthless consistency by the miserable expedient of walking always along the mud flats, to fail in nothing because you had promised nothing, that is a folly which is only explicable on the ground that it springs from a narrow and calculating egotism. Far better always is the generous impulse, which, like Peter, says, "I will, I am able," and then goes out to learn through defeat a deeper knowledge of self and a deeper knowledge of Christ. And how can anyone know with fully proved conviction that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, before he has gone through the whole of life in His company and faced all its worst challenges with Him?
Christian discipleship always must begin in ignorance; or to put it in another way, it must always begin in a sort of plunge, a grand experiment. Something draws us to Him and we risk our lives upon Him. There is only one way to prove Him trustworthy and that is to trust Him. We do not ask of anyone to do more than make honest experiment of Jesus. Our faith in preaching Him is that, if Jesus is fairly given His chance, He will be able to make triumphant use of it.