There are many times in our lives when it seems like the Lord asks us to walk on water, or at least there are times when we might be tempted to say, “Lord you might as well ask me to walk on water as to do that, because I don’t think I can do it.” The scriptures contain walk-on-water phrases that are applicable to all of us. For instance, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). When I read those words I think, “I want to do this, Lord, but to be exactly like you—that’s impossible. Yet, if you can walk pleasingly before our Father, and you ask me to do it, I must be able to do it. I will not be discouraged with myself, but keep trying.” Maybe the greatest walk-on-water command of all is: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Again, we are tempted to say, “You might as well ask me to walk on water, Lord, as to ask me to be perfect.” Here is another command that poses walk-on-water challenges: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly” (D&C 121:45). On and on we can pull phrases out of the scriptures that are difficult, walk-on-water kinds of commands.
There are other aspects of life we might consider, short of full scriptural exhortation. Here are a few that I have seen in my own life or in the lives of others. We are often asked to do the following:
• Reject and resist every temptation, just as Christ did.
• Overcome crippling habits and addictions.
• Change our very character, our personality, our desires, our lifestyle, and our very thought patterns.
• Conquer fear.
• Fulfill and master God-given talents.
• Accept and develop a difficult—even an unwanted—calling.
• Consecrate all of our time, all of our talents, all that we have, and all that we ever will have, to the Lord’s work and kingdom.
• Let go of the traditions of past prejudice, anger, and hate.
• Forgive the unforgivable.
• Love the unlovable.
• Maintain faith in a God of goodness in the face of the vast inconsistencies, trials, and unfairnesses of life.
• Learn to trust a God who allows incredible suffering and allows men to be cruel and inhumane to one another.
• Endure crushing disappointment or betrayal.
• Rise from a suffocating, oppressive, or abusive environment.
• Live chaste in thought and deed in an immoral, sexually exploitive world.
• Mend broken, deeply wounded relationships.
• Sacrifice our most precious things.
• Rejoice and be of good cheer in the midst of pain and unfulfilled longings.
I could go on and on. Everyone probably has walk-on-water moments of life, times when you want very badly to do what you feel God is encouraging you to do—what you see he could do and did—but feel that it simply is impossible. Let us never forget, if he asks us to do it, the assumption is that we can do it. We must believe we can do the things he asks us. I think it is interesting to ponder that the sign Peter specifically asked for, in order to know that the dark shape on the water really was the Savior, was to do what Christ himself was doing—the impossible—just as if Peter thought, No one else would ask me to do that. It must be my God.