. . . the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke up to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14:24-33
Peter and I have a thing going. I read his story and I feel my eyebrows rise as he calls out to Jesus and steps out of the boat. My heart quickens as his feet first touch the water and the edges of my lips upturn as he takes his first faith-filled steps. When the wind begins to ripple his resolve and fear begins to swallow him, I relate to his situation and I take comfort in the way his story ends: with Jesus stretching out his hand and taking hold of him.
I am Peter. I recognize Jesus in the storm. I ask Him to call me to do things that are kind of crazy and when He does, I get out of the boat. It’s an exhilarating feeling to stand strong when faith is the only foundation supporting you. Yet that wind is a pesky problem, it stirs up trouble and I’m quickly distracted, vulnerable and scared.
Listing our home for sale was our recent step of faith: out of the safety of the boat into the unknown. The wind started out as a whispering and over time has become more fierce. “Why is this taking so long? Maybe I shouldn’t have stepped out of the boat. If this house doesn’t sell, it is going to make someone look silly–me or God, I hope He’s okay with that possibility.” It’s easy to become disoriented when your faith is tested. All you have to do is take your eyes off of Jesus and you are lost. Continue reading “the water”
As I formulate the words in my mind that I am about to type I shake my head with self disdain: Our house has been on the market for 48 days now and nothing is happening. No offers. No showings. Nothing. Do you hear me people? 48 whole days we have been waiting! Belch, I just threw up in my mouth a little at my own ignorant impatience.
It not my fault really, I just saw this playing out differently in my mind:
We tell God we will do anything. We wait, we pray, we listen. We try to hear His voice in the wind. Nothing. We start to hear rustling and things start selling–big things and little things but still no clear direction. We cross-examine every opportunity that comes across our path. Nothing. Then, something and more somethings and pretty soon we have built up a pretty solid case for our next move on God’s adventure team. We list the house for sale on a Thursday evening. By Friday we have a few showings lined up and by Sunday we are praising God in church for the multiple offers we have received on our home. We pack up, we move and enter phase two of the grand adventure.
The last few weeks have been a jumble of sorting, selling, giving away and letting go. The number of unnecessary possessions that we have obtained and the amount of time it has taken to sort though them has worn me down.In many ways, the process has been both annoyingly frustrating and therapeutically freeing.My heart does not want to own so much, it weighs on you in unseen areas and seems to suck energy out of you just by being there.The challenge for me however, is not in releasing the unwanted items, but in facing the things that I do want, that I do enjoy.There is a pull, a silent whisper of security that beckons from the lifeless stuff around me.Perhaps “possessions” is the most accurate term that could possibly describe our things.The irony is that we can fail to see who owns and who is possessing. This can be almost impossible to judge until the moment in which you are faced with giving it up. Continue reading “possessions”
All glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20
God’s best for us is often better than we can ask for. I’ve been thinking about this truth and how it can apply in my life and also in the lives of those I read about in the Bible. First to mind was Adam and his paradise home located on brand-spankin’-new planet earth. I’ve pondered the lush fauna and flora (I just learned the difference between the two this past year–thank you homeschooling), and I’ve decided that if we can enjoy breathtaking landscapes like the Grand Canyon on this post-sin earth, my mind can’t even conceive hypothetical sin-free beauty.
It would seem that Adam was pretty set with physical perfection and intimate closeness with God. Yet God (not Adam), recognized and expressed the deep need Adam had for a helper (Genesis 2:20-21). God, the first inventor, created and presented the exact thing that Adam needed but couldn’t produce or even imagine on his own. God knew Adam so well that he was anticipating needs and initiating provision before they were requested. Isn’t that beautiful?
Sometimes I struggle to comprehend that the same provider God of the Old Testament is still present in 2014. Sometimes I have higher expectations for my Old Testament God than I do for my personal Savior God. It sounds strange, even perhaps a tad sacrilegious to admit it, but it’s true. My God is not nearly big enough. Although I know theoretically that He can doanything, I am consistently putting limits on what I think He will do. It can be downright embarrassing at times. Like when He answers prayers I forgot to pray, or provides for things I never got around to asking for, or moves in ways I would not have even fathomed to envision. In times like this, I am caught with my mouth slightly open and a dazed look on my face thinking, “Wait a minute, how did you. . . why I never even. . . hey, you moved without me. . . wow, that was awesome.” Continue reading “bigger God needed”
If your heart is in a place where you can trust God enough to be open to doing anything or going anywhere, following Jesus is a compelling adventure. In the gospels I read about His invitation to follow Him (Matthew 4:19) and I see the response: His disciples dropped everything they were doing and followed. After a process of time, prayer, and soul-searching, Trent and I were in that place: we were ready to sell anything and follow anywhere. We were prayerfully sensitive to the opportunities that came across our paths and sought to determine, “Is this opportunity God’s will for us or is this simply a distraction?” We waded through a sea of possibilities for almost a year. We prayed through business opportunities, selling our home, buying a duplex, moving back to California, and moving overseas. In the process, we discovered more about our passions, dreams and goals and we continued to bring these to the feet of Jesus and ask, “Show us what to do with these things in our hearts.” Some of the particular areas we processed included: Continue reading “anti-lukewarm”