Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Running Leap Into the Deep

William Taylor once wrote, "The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that 'He giveth songs in the night', He must first make it night."  As I sit and reflect on the last year of our life, I could definitely call it "the night". A time of darkness and despair, a time of not seeing light in the distance. The gospel I have believed in since before I can remember has been more than subjected to a fiery trial. Hebrews 11:1 states:

      "Faith is being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it."

Faith is a hard thing to come by these days. Faith that God is real, Faith that God is good- all the time, Faith that He loves me, Faith that the things I hope for will come. Jesus said to Doubting Thomas in John 20:29

      "You believe because you see me. Those who believe without truly seeing me will be blessed."

And I want to be that person. The one who believes without the need to see anything, but I find myself so many times praying, "JUST SHOW UP!" Jesus' disciple, Peter, has been on my mind a lot lately. I keep coming back to 2 stories involving him. The first is when Jesus walks on the water to the boat his disciples are in (Matt. 14:22-36). The man whom they believe is the Messiah is doing something truly amazing and the first thing Peter says is, "Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water." WHAT?! That is the last thing this wimp would say, but his doubt resonates withing me. It is a doubt I can relate to because he is testing the waters (literally) but also has great faith all wrapped up in this one statement. If Peter didn't have faith in this man he wouldn't  have walked on the water, but he also wouldn't have walked on the water unless he doubted Him either. The next part of the story really gets me. Jesus simply says "Come." This tells me even in my doubt with the stormy sea raging around me, he reaches out his hand to me  and says, "Come". And Peter does it. That is faith at its finest! But when he sees the wind and waves he becomes afraid and starts sinking. Matthew 14:31-33 states:

       "He shouted, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said,
       'Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?' After they got in the boat, the wind became calm. Then those
        who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said 'Truly you are the Son of God.'"

I wonder why Jesus didn't calm the wind until after they got back into the boat? He so easily could have made it easier on Peter. But I find the strength of the "vessel" is tested by the "hurricane". And through both Peter's doubt and faith Jesus was glorified in the end.

The second story I've been coming back to comes at the end of the gospels, John 21:1:

           "'I'm going out to fish,' Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' so they went out and got
             into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore,
             but the disciples did not realize that is was Jesus. He called out to them, 'Friends haven't you caught
             any fish?' 'No,' they answered. He said, 'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will
             find some.' When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
             Then John said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' As soon as Peter heard him say 'It is the Lord,' he wrapped
             his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water."

I love to see how far Peter has come... that wild abandonment. This time he leaps into the water after Jesus. Even more, what speaks to me in this story is that Jesus still wanted to fulfill the desires of their hearts and give them fish- he wasn't saying, "No", he was simply saying, "Follow me and the rest will fall into place." I have felt lately that God doesn't want to give me the desires of my heart. And in turn it has effected how I feel about his love for me and even more the faith I have in him. But this spoke to my heart that He isn't saying "No" he is saying, "Follow me and the rest will fall into place."

So today I choose to step out of the boat and onto the raging waters that surround me, to test the power of this gospel. Jesus hasn't completely calmed the waves and wind rising around me and I will most likely sink at one time or another. But I am hoping and praying that one day I would be able to take a running leap into the deep with a wild abandonment after my savior.

1 comment:

  1. I always read "A Wrinkle in Time" to my 4th graders. I'm not sure if Tim remembers the book, but I like this quote by the author...

    “Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself.”

    -Madeleine L'engle