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More than white-knuckle determination

We have all probably had enough of the pandemic of 2020 and are looking forward to a better 2021. I hate to burst anybody's bubble, but this pandemic thing is far from over. Even with the widespread vaccine administration, it will take a while for the herd immunity to actually kick in, all the while this virus is still taking a toll on those who contract it and those treat it. It seems the pandemic has been one of the central stories in our media for nearly a year now and we will likely see continued emphasis on masking, hand hygiene, and staying home when ill - not to mention the forgoing of large gatherings. Life isn't 'back to normal' by any means. In the midst of all this, is it possible for us to stop long enough to celebrate some of the goodness of God? I think it is, but we definitely have to push out all the negative long enough to center our thoughts once again on him and his love for us. When we are able to do this, God never ceases to surprise us with his love - to open up the doors of heaven to give us even the slightest glimpse of his goodness and peace.

Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. Let your servants see what you’re best at— the ways you rule and bless your children. And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! (Psalm 90:12 MSG)

I know many of us are praying for the 'bad times' to end and the 'good times' to re-enter the scene, but here's the thing we may not recognize right away - God hasn't left us even when the 'times' are a little rougher or undesirable than we'd like them to be. God is still 'at the helm' even when it seems like utter chaos is all around us. In the midst of the storm, when the winds were buffeting the boat severely, didn't Jesus come walking on the water? (Matthew 17:22-33) What happened? He entered into the boat and the winds and waves ceased! What we need most today is for Jesus to enter our boat! Him walking on the water is a good thing, but if we want to realize the total peace that he brings, he needs to get into our boat! We need to allow him to be 'within us', not just around us. We appreciate most the 'order' that comes in life because we have endured the 'chaos' that has also been part of it. Chaos is just the absence of order - no one brings order quite in the same way as Jesus does!

Yes, we've seen chaos around us and perhaps we have even felt chaos within us. There is nothing that will completely set that in order again apart from the grace and goodness of God. As God sets things in order within us, we begin to understand he is still in control, that his intention is to bless his children, and most importantly - his love isn't going to ever let us go. As Jesus came walking on the water that night, what had transpired to get the disciples into the waves? They had to set out from the safety of shore - across the waters. Every sailor will tell you there is always a risk of rocky water when the winds kick up. The waves begin as little lapping ones and then can develop into pounding ones that are intent on breaking past whatever is in their way. As long as we are in the boat, away from shore, we are at risk. The waters are deep and the crossing is perhaps only half finished. The waves are mounting and the 'anchor' isn't going to hold us in those deep waters. What do we do?

We turn our attention away from the waves and we look up. We begin to see the one who is walking toward us - not affected by the waves, winds, or chaos of the hour. Remember how frequently I speak to us of perspective - our focus? It really is important to keep the right focus in the midst of chaos. We can allow our thoughts to be consumed by the waves, winds, and accompanying chaos being tossed about brings, or we can focus our attention squarely on the one who is quite near us right now. We can invite him into our boat and allow him to settle the storm within us. A storm is really just the result of chaos. What restores chaos? Peace. Who is perfect peace? Christ. Therefore, if we want to weather the storm with more than white-knuckle determination to hold on long enough to make it to the other side, we want to invite him in! Just sayin!


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