Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,