Why is it simple truths can be so huge when they finally sink in? I am sitting under a tiki umbrella at the Kalahari water park. Music is playing, parents are smiling (for the most part) and children's squeals and laughter are floating on the light breeze. The weather is beautiful - not a drop of humidity.
I am reading Max Lucado's book Fearless. Oh to be completely fearless - to wake up and not be nibbled and nipped by concerns and fears and worries. It sounds so tantalizing and sometimes I get a glimpse of it, like something out of the corner of my eye, but to really experience it, on a daily basis - that must be what heaven is like.
To be completely honest, I've been down the last couple weeks. I could blame it on hormones or the heat and humidity (I don't do hot weather), but I think it is just me inviting my doubts in for tea and letting them stay indefinitely.
God is so good though. He reaches out to where we are at - in my case, a lawn chair under a tiki umbrella. (this fair, freckled chick is thankful for the shade!).
In his book, Lucado relates the story of Peter walking on the water - a familiar story I've heard about a bizillion times. But today, for whatever reason, I really got it.
The storm is raging, the disciples - seasoned fisherman by the way - are worried. Then they see someone strolling towards them through the heaving waves. This freaks them out more than the storm and they start shouting the word, "Ghost!" For fisherman, seeing a ghost was not a good sign. Then the apparition speaks. "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here."
My eyes are brimming as this truth sinks into my heart, not just my head:
Jesus is here with me at this resort.
Jesus is with me when I choose to love when the person is unlovable.
Jesus with me when I don't have the right parenting answers.
Jesus is with me when things seem unfair or unjust.
Jesus is right beside me when I feel stuck and I'm not going anywhere.
Jesus will be with me when I walk into my first substitute teaching job.
Jesus is with me in life and will be with me when I take my last breath.
No matter what we go through or experience, we don't have to be afraid. We can have courage, because Jesus is there. It's a promise you can take to the bank. He ain't leaving.
Peter was so psyched by Jesus' words, he got out of the boat and walked on the water. I know he ultimately took his eyes off Jesus and sank, but for a moment, I want to marvel at his courage - his faith that since Jesus was there, he could do the impossible. Having just done a ropes course last night, I can sympathize. There is something paralyzing about having to step out on a tiny piece of wood that hangs several dozen feet in the air. Yes, you are in your harness and yes you are tethered securely, but man, that first step, it is definitely an exercise in faith in your tether! So, for Peter, to leave the safety of his boat and step into the boiling, frothing sea, well, that is pretty impressive to me.
Of course, Peter's walk lasted only as long as he looked at Jesus and not the storm. It's easy, from the safety of our secure lives, to scoff at Peter for taking his eyes off Jesus, for being overwhelmed by the ferocious sea, for letting himself sink. But honestly, I find it all too easy to put my focus on the storms of circumstances that sometimes seem ready to slap me down like a giant wave. But the lesson here isn't that Peter failed (well, not the entire lesson), but the lesson is what we CAN do when we do keep our eyes on Jesus who makes walking on the water actually possible.
So, the next time I feel the spray of a coming wave, I'm not going to look at it, I'm going to turn my eyes to Jesus. After all, if He's there, I have nothing to be afraid of!
Reminds me of the old hymn, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
~ Blessings, Bronte