caught in the middle…

October 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm (Prayer, Search for Significance, Sovereignty of God, The Gospel)

In Mark chapter 6, a situation is described in verses 45-56.  The scene that starts in verse 45 shows a couple of guys getting into a boat to head to another town across a lake.  Nothing about the day seemed out of order, and so they sailed.  However, night came and darkness brought a storm.  Suddenly, the waves got larger, the wind got stronger, thunder louder, and lightening brighter.  The men were clinging on tight and straining against the oars doing everything they could to keep the boat under control.  They just knew they were about to lose it all, it all seemed impossible.  They were caught in the middle of the storm.  But across the lake, a man was watching.  At the time He knew was appropriate, He went out to them.  He didn’t take a boat, He walked out to them.  The waves were still large, the wind still strong, and the thunder still loud.  The only thing that changed was the man who was standing on water in front of the boat.  Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take heart!, It is I.  Do not be afraid.” He then climbed into the boat with them, and the storm was calm.

This man who walked on water, in the middle of the chaos of the storm, was Jesus.  Jesus, the Son of God..the only One who has any authority to say, “Do not be afraid.”  As soon as the men recognized Him, He climbed into the boat with them and everything was calm – the chaos went away.  Jesus was there the whole time, watching until the right time, and then, He came to them to save them.  This man had plans for them..to use them to spread His Gospel all over the world.  Life would not be easy for them; there would be many more times these men would be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and He had a different plan in mind than the storm overtaking them.  And so, He waited for them to recognize Him, and then, he got into the boat with them and creation calmed.

I think of this story in my own life in the past month.  The last month has been full of increasing chaos.  A month ago I went to Mississippi full of expectations and hopes for a great weekend with SEC football and friends.  However, in the back of my mind, i rememebered that every time I go home, a layer of my heart that I once thought was sealed and closed gets exposed a little and I walk away with some hurt.  This weekend was no different.  Coupled with those “normal” feelings, this last time for me was my first home football game back at my beloved stadium.  I love this place, many many good memories there but also many memories of my years spent there where I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of things the hard way.  I relived a lot of things that day and a lot of buried memories were resurfaced.  Needless to say, I came back to Dallas that weekend not only with a loss of a very hopeful football game, but with a lot of hurt, shame, guilt and feelings of unworthiness for everything that occurred in the first 21 years of my life.  In that next week, as I tried to jump right into work and prepare a “sermon” for my middle schoolers, I was consumed by these feelings.  The waves and wind of the storm were picking up in my life.  I was doubting my Savior, completely forgetting grace, struggling with truths that I once accepted, letting lies overtake my thoughts and actions and cling on, tighting to my “oars” that were steering me in my life – my friends.  I was doing everything I could to keep my “boat” under control but everything I tried to do was nothing compared to the storm around me and it was doing nothing more but making the storm harder.

Since that weekend, I have given 2 “sermons” on my God, 2 “sermons” that I have had to labor through and struggle because I myself was not completely recognizing my God.  When I went into ministry, I promised myself that I would never give a talk about something I do not believe for myself and for the first time, I have had to work to live up to that standard.  I was struggling, pulling anything I could to try to balance the waves but they seemed to only get bigger.  I would try new things, try normal things more, try anything I could to either forget about the storm, or try to balance it.  I tried myself to calm the storm but it only got bigger.  Nothing I was doing was working, in fact, I myself was destroying all my oars and all my hopes of staying afloat.  I was about to lose it all, give up and be consumed by the storm.

But a friend stepped in.  This friend didn’t walk on water, but she pointed me to the one that was.  The One that told me to let go of my oars.  The only one would could calm my storm.  And ever since I recognized Him, the storm has calmed.  Not completely, but it is getting there.  I can’t believe that I let the storm go on this long and didn’t recognize Him myself but am very thankful for a friend that pointed Him out to me.  Thankful that I still have friends that care that much; and thankful that that friend speaks truth to me even when it hurts, despite the hurt I have brought in her life.

The storm has brought much hurt, the waves were not forgiving.  This storm has brought hurt in my heart and feelings from lies from my childhood that I thought I worked through years ago.  The storm brought hurt from mistakes I made that still effect my life today.  The storm brought destruction in relationships that I do not want to lose.  But, the storm has brought a recognition of my Savior and a redemption of grace that He gives.  So, as the waves calm and the wind dies down.  As the thunder quiets and the lightening goes dim, I cling, not to my oars, but to my Savior who is now in the boat with me and riding out the remainder of the storm alongside me.  May I always have an increased awareness of Him beside me and His timing in His moving.

As I ride out the rest of the storm, I pray, hard.  I pray He will steer my boat from now on, I pray He will control where my life goes.  I pray He will combat the lies that are constantly flowing through my head.  I pray He will give me wisdom and discernment to discover which thoughts are truth and which are lies.  I pray He will preserve the friendships that I potentially destroyed.  I pray He will bring my heart to a joyful state.  I pray He will remain beside me.  And I pray that my Savior has plans for me, to use me to spread His Gospel all over the world.  Life will not be easy; there will be many more times I will be caught in the middle of a storm but He controls all of creation and I pray that next time, I will recognize Him beside me, before the storm overtakes me.

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