We cannot walk on water. But in that fact we should recognize, and admit to our shame that we do not yet have faith like a mustard seed, and are certainly deserving of reproof more than Peter was. For Peter gave all to follow the Savior, and walked on the water for a time, and we have not. This is not a rebuke we take any more lightly than Peter did. When we cannot say to a sycamine tree be thou plucked up by the roots and cast into the sea, and it obey us, we recognize that our faith is less than a mustard seed and we recognize that we are stand worthy of reproof no less than Christ’s twelve disciples were. It is not a pretend reproof, and it comes from the Son of God.
We recognize that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only on the principles of righteousness, and that the reason we are not so connected with them to have the wind and the waves obey us is that we are not righteous enough.
And in that we find genuine reproof.
Why do we care?
Because our hope is that one day the powers of heaven will be exercised in our behalf in far more miraculous ways than these. We want them to be exercised in our behalf to bind our family in the resurrection. We want them to be exercised in our behalf to raise us up to a celestial glory. We want them to be exercised in our behalf to bring us into the presence of God.
And those are miracles that require real faith – no grain of mustard seed, but faith like the ancients had.
So it is no academic matter that Christ reproved his disciples over.
Will we find ourselves more connected to the powers of heaven after this life than we were during it? Or does the same intelligence that we attained in this life rise up with us in the resurrection from the dead?
We want, we desperately hope for, far more miraculous things than walking on water, than turning water to wine, than healing the sick and afflicted, that plucking up a tree at our word. These are all momentary shows of the powers of heaven that pass away and become as though they never were as all mortal things do. They are momentary and transitory.
But what we hope is that God’s power will be exercised in our behalf in far, far more potent ways. Ways that will not be a mere moment in mortality, but will endure forever through all eternity.
And we will not receive the miracle if we do not have the requisite faith. Faith always precedes the miracle.
The problem with living fat and happy far beneath our privileges is this: The miracles we count on in eternity for salvation are much greater miracles and hence require much greater faith than the privileges we knowingly live beneath.
What divine manifestation has ever been had on earth that compares with the one we want in eternity: to live forever with the Father and the Son.
If we cannot enjoy the Holy Ghost in more than a trickle here, what makes us think we will suddenly enjoy the full blown personal presence of the Father and the Son after we die, and that not for a moment, but for all eternity.
The privileges we live beneath are preparatory. They are saving grace offered to us by God, but the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only on principles of righteousness. And unfortunately, as we know perfectly well, these privileges require far more righteousness than you or I have deigned to live up to.
But we can, each of us, repent. We can, every one of us, repent.
Those who scoff at the idea of prophecies and miracles should beware. I, along with most of the rest of the church, know that we are each individually a long, long way below such things. But we should not start pretending that they are irrelevant and scoff at them. Nor should we pretend that this day God is not a God of miracles. We should own up to our own wickedness and repent. You and I both. We should press forward and strive to save our families, our dead, and his other children, for as we bring sheaves to him, we may bring salvation to our own soul in the long winter of the afterlife wherein no man can work.
There is a vast world of difference in the way we will press forward if we recognize that a great distance lies before us, and that all that we really wanted is even further than that, as compared to the way we will press forward if we think we need to make it down the block before our life’s end. Thus we must not scoff at the idea of miracles and prophesies.
Not that we should heed the sirens of false prophesy, such as have become popular in some corners of our membership. The revelations of heaven may be available to all members, but only those with the keys may publish them to the world, and anything else is deception.
But we must not mock the idea of visions, of revelation, of angels, of miracles. For any or the least of these is far less miraculous, and requires far less faith, than the eternal displays of power we want God to exercise in our behalf.
Additionally, can we not look about us and see that our children, and our children’s children, will need Moses, will need Melchizedeks, will need Enochs, will need men who walk wrapped in the power of the Holy Ghost as with a mantle? Will Zion be built by lesser men in the last days than Enoch and Melchizedek were in theirs? Will a society as corrupt and wicked as ours is becoming be reproved and kept off enslaving the saints in coming generations by less than a Moses?
Why do we think it was called the Melchizedek priesthood if it was not a calling for those to receive it to become Melchizedeks themselves. They are called to become like him because he was such a great high priest. He quenched the violence of fire and shut the mouth of lions in his childhood by his faith, and in his adulthood his faith was such that he converted his wicked city, Salem, into another city like Enoch’s city, and it was translated and taken into heaven with Zion.
We may not make it as far down the path as we want. But we must recognize in Christ’s words to his disciples that he requires us to be pressing forward like we are anxiously crossing the plains in search of the promised land, and that instead we are mozying around our neighborhood block, feeling confident we can make the distance in our lifetime.
We must recognize that the miracles that we REALLY want from God are far more potent, and require far more faith, require far more righteousness, than the ones we live far beneath without feeling any particular care or concern.