Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A View From the Boat

"One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

 The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Master, Master, we’re going to drown!' 

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  'Where is your faith?'  he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, 'Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.'"
~ Luke 8:22-25

This was the Scripture for me to read in my Good Morning Girls Bible Study the other morning.  I have loved this Bible Study.  God has used His Word each day to speak to my heart right where I am each day.  This day last week was no exception.  Let me paraphrase the beginning of this passage in light of my own situation and where God was speaking to me.

"One day Jesus said to Angie and Micah, 'Let's adopt!  The journey of adoption will take us from where we are, across a lake and to the shores on the other side, so let's go.'  So they all got into the boat and set out."

Jesus used this section of Scripture to speak so clearly to my adoptive-Mama heart.  There are several nuggets He spoke to me I'd like to share here...
  • First and foremost, it was Jesus' directive for the disciples to get in the boat and sail across the lake to the other side.  They didn't invite Jesus for a cruise, He invited them.  Same for us--Jesus invited us to get in the boat and cross the lake of adoption.  We didn't invite him along on the journey we planned out--He invited us.
  • Jesus didn't send the disciples off in the boat alone and let them know He would meet them later on the other side.  He got in the boat with them.  He was willing and ready to sail the waters beside them.  Same for us--Jesus never looked at the waters of the lake and said, "Head on out--I'll see you when you are done!"  No, Jesus came with us.  He helped us into the boat and jumped in as well after shoving our craft off the edge of the secure land we were standing.  He said, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake"...together.
  • The lake must have begun calm or I doubt the disciples would have willingly joined in His idea for a ride on the water that day.  Same for us.  We had no idea of the conditions we might face along the way or perhaps we would not have gotten in the boat either.  The calmness of the water on a nice day looks inviting and appealing.  Why not?  Why not go for a boat ride?  This is certainly what we experienced--the view from the edge was calm and we gladly obeyed what Jesus was asking us to do.
  • The atmosphere on the boat must have been peaceful as well because apparently Jesus fell asleep.  Many times in life I sense that Jesus must have left a situation because I don't feel like I'm having a deep connection with Him for whatever reason (like He is isn't talking directly to me) when perhaps the better way to look at the scene is that things are so peaceful that Jesus is simply taking an afternoon nap for refreshment.  Scripture says He will never leave us, so I am pondering anew that perhaps in those moments when I feel He has, He is instead peacefully sleeping because He knows all is well so long as His Presence is there.
  • While all was calm enough for Jesus to take a nap, a squall--" a brief sudden violent windstorm, often accompanied by rain or snow"--came upon the boat.  A brief, sudden, crazy amount of wind that rocked the boat so badly the people inside no longer felt safe.  This past week, for us was a "squall" in our adoption.  An outside force along the journey across our lake that disrupted the peace.  We found out the news that our paperwork has not been where our orphanage director and ourselves were told it has been.  For the past 4 months our paperwork has been stuck on a desk waiting for a paper that was lost by the office it was in.  It was all of our impressions our adoption decree was getting legalized when in actuality we were stuck not even with a decree yet.  A heartbreaking squall in the middle of the lake.  In a way, this squall has had 4 months of brewing and last week it unleashed its ugliness on our calm waters.  Our boat has been rocked, but remember what I discovered...Jesus has never left the boat--He is simply sleeping because He knows as long as He is present, all is well.  Jesus was getting rocked in the boat right along with us.
  • Just as the disciples went to Jesus and woke Him saying "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" So did we run to Jesus arousing Him from His slumber, begging Him to come to our aid.  In times past of reading this Scripture, I have found myself under the impression that the disciples were probably mad at Jesus for sleeping while they were frantic.  Frustrated that He was still sleeping in the midst of the storm.  Perhaps even angry He wasn't doing His part in the work.  Did they really run to him this way?  There is nothing in this Scripture that says they did.  Instead, could they just have easily ran to Him for help because they simply knew they could not battle the storm alone?  Simply because they needed Him--His help, His presence, His ideas, His strength, His courage, His physical muscles to grab ropes, steer the boat, row the oars, scoop out buckets of water to keep the ship afloat?  I will never know how the disciples came to Jesus that day on the lake, but I know how I came to Jesus last week.  I went running to "wake Him" because I knew I NEEDED Him.  I knew I could not battle this storm alone.  I was too weak.  Too unseasoned as a sailor.  Too tired from the long days in the hot sun.  Too seasick from the ups and downs of the ride.  I needed Him so I called on Him to help...not out of anger or frustration, but out of sheer desperation for someone who could help me.
  • When the disciples called on Jesus to help them, He rose to the occasion and, in my opinion, blew their sandals off with the way He chose to help.  I can imagine these men expecting Jesus to help by grabbing the ripping sails of their ship or a thick rope to steady them, only to be shocked as instead he simply stood there talking words to the sky.  "He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm."  Words.  All Jesus used was His Words and the storm was over.  As quickly as the squall came at them, it departed.  Not because the squall decided it was done, but because Jesus ordered it to be done with His Words.  What was meant to potentially end their journey across the lake or even harm the disciples themselves, was stopped not by their own efforts to stay afloat in the rough waters, but because they called on Jesus and Jesus' power and authority was unleashed through His Words.  As I called on Jesus to come to our side this week, friends, He came.  He came through His Word.  Through His Scriptures and Promises and Truths given to us in The Bible.  By using His Words, He stopped the storm that meant to defeat us and powerfully allowed our journey to continue on instead.
  • The only words spoken in this section of Scripture to the disciples from the Lord's mouth came to my ears as well.  The only question Jesus had for them all and for me as well was this..."Where is your faith?"  The line of an old hymn rushed into my head..."Ponder anew what the Almighty can do."  The truth is that as long as Jesus was with the disciples and they were doing He had asked of them (take a boat to the other side of the lake), they should have known all would come to pass and they would reach their final destination in the end.  Jesus never said the journey across the lake would always be calm.  Perhaps He didn't even know what all would come at them.  Perhaps He did.  Does it really matter?  He simply told them He wanted them to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake with Him.  Isn't it true that whatever Jesus wants to do, He will see it happen no matter what comes along to thwart it?  Whatever comes against the Will of God will never be able to accomplish its goal so long as those Jesus has asked to do it with Him continue the journey with Him.  The way I see it, the disciples had so many choices along this journey.  They could have never got their feet in the boat in the first place, they could have turned around as the skies got dark, they could have jumped ship in the waves, they could have tried to overtake the wind in their own strength, they could have never woke Jesus to help them.  But they did not do those things.  They remained in the boat, called on Jesus, and saw the miraculous before their very eyes.  Where was their faith?  In the midst of the storm, somehow, they lost focus on the fact that their journey had nothing to do with the weather around them.  Their journey was not about what they went through, but about the ending--about what Jesus had originally called them to do--"go over to the other side of the lake".  Perhaps I needed the same reminder this week.  The same reminder that Jesus has not revealed to us what all we will face along the journey across the lake of adoption, but that my faith should not waiver depending on those circumstances.  My faith should be solidly built on the fact that Jesus simply asked us to get in the boat with Him and get to the other side and because we are obeying that invitation, He will see it come to completion.  What He has called us to, if we stick with Him through everything that comes our way, will result in landing on the other side with a completed adoption and an amazing story to tell others of the journey along the way.  An amazing story to brag on the Jesus who quite literally saw us through each step of the journey because HE WAS WITH US at every moment.
  • In fear and amazement the disciples marveled at just who Jesus was in that moment.  He helped them alright, but perhaps not the way they thought He would.  He saved them from drowning, but not in the way they expected.  He didn't work in the midst of the circumstances around them, He overcame the circumstances around them.  He didn't save them in the midst of the storm, He took away the storm in order to save them.  I can only imagine how incredibly special and loved they felt in that moment.  I can only imagine the fear and amazement they felt in that moment was perhaps two-fold.  Perhaps a bit about the fact this man just told the sky to stop hammering them and it listened, but yet also that a man who was willing to get in the boat with them loved them so much that He would do anything to see them accomplish what He asked of them.  I can only imagine these feelings because it is where I have found myself.  A bit dumfounded not only at the way I saw Jesus stop what was harming our adoption process from continuing forward, but also because I saw the way Jesus once again revealed His relentless pursuit of showing me how much He loves me.  I am humbled, blessed, and in awe of the way Jesus loves me, protects me, and fights against anything coming against me so long as I am committed in faith and action to follow His Will no matter what the weather forecast is that day.
  • In the end, because of Who He Is, Jesus deserves and rightfully commands obedience.  The disciples obeyed Jesus.  It might not have been perfect or even pretty along the journey, but they obeyed.  Heck, even the winds and the rains obeyed Jesus.  Today, I too, will obey Jesus.  My own obedience will not be perfect and probably not pretty along the way, but my obedience will remain.  Not because I know I have the strength to make it through the perils of the water to the other side of the lake like He asked me to or to the end of this adoption on my own strength, but because I know I can not do any of it successfully without Him.  I am nothing without the Presence of Jesus.  My boat ride without Jesus along is nothing but a boat ride.  And where will my faith be along the journey?  My faith will not be in myself or anything mere mortals can do to either help or hurt this adoption.  My faith will be in God alone.  Only He is able.  With that faith, with that obedience, with that desire to serve Jesus, I will remain in the boat.  I will continue in this journey knowing full well that Jesus will be the One who gets us to the other side...no matter how long that takes.
"And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk (or ride in a boat) in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk (ride) in love."
~ 2 Jn. 1:5-6

"For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk (ride) in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."
~ Dt. 30:16

1 comment:

  1. Another amazing post... I love that you are sharing your heart with us, and pray for you daily. Thank you - you are a blessing to so many, including me!!!