Friday, March 8, 2013

I am afraid in the midst of chaos.

The words were said. They say you can't take words back, but let me tell you it's all together different when they wont even try to take the words back. My heart was broken in a bazillion pieces, and all the times I had swept behavior aside in order to get along came crashing down on my head. He had finally crossed the line and I felt the break when he did.

When someone hurts you so completely you get to the point where you separate your heart from them. It's a painful process, and one that isn't fun to accomplish. I have struggled with how to deal with this person, not knowing what to do. It seems whenever we are around each other the winds whip up, the waves start crashing, and I can't seem to focus on Jesus during the storm.

Have you ever been there? I would like to think it's not just me, but sometimes the unexpected makes me a big old mess. I cave, lose focus, get selfish, hold on to bitterness, and stand firm. It takes a stronger person to move forward, love, and release. It's something I'm still working on, but I will admit I am afraid.

What if they do it again? What if my attempts to make things better go unheeded? What if they use my gentleness against me? And sometimes people do. They don't behave the way we want them to behave. And sometimes our expectations of them are unfair.

I'm still learning and growing and trying to figure out the best way to stand in the storm, but I know it has to do with holding onto Jesus in the midst of it. Honestly, I think it's probably the only way it will happen, and next time I have the opportunity that's what I will try to do. Just hold on to Jesus.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The fear of the unexpected

Matthew 14:27
But Jesus immediately said to them.
“Take courage! It is I.
Do not be afraid.”
The water rocked the boat as they headed into the wind to cross the Sea. This should have been an easy journey, but the waves kept the sailors on their toes as they rowed to where they were headed. How often do we find ourselves in our own mini-storm, being pushed by circumstances not under our control? Probably all too often. Have you ever noticed when you are in the middle of such a situation you grow weary in other ways. It’s almost as if you are putting out so much energy to take care of one thing, that something else causes more trouble than it should.
Maybe you have spent the morning preparing all the babies for church, and then the youngest spits up on the oldest. Maybe you just get to work, start going through your notes before the big meeting you have been working toward, and coffee is spilled on your notes and pants. Maybe the entire household has been sick for a week, and as you start to make a dent in the laundry which has piled up over that time the washer decides to call it quits. Some people call it the last straw, but I think this is what the disciples faced on the water.
They were overwhelmed by the crowd on the hill, and flabbergasted as Jesus told them to feed the people. They are still considering how Jesus actually accomplished this when he sends them out onto the water ahead of him. As the winds pick up, and as they struggle to get where they are going, all of a sudden Jesus is on the water… walking on the water. It was the last straw as their mind tried to take everything in and make sense out of it, and the only thing they could come up with was what they had always known: it must be a ghost. Who else could it be?
This is a perfect example for us to learn from, because while Jesus may not be seen walking on the water towards us, He is with us all the same. Sometimes in the middle of the chaos our days turn into we don’t always see Him. Sometimes when He comes to us we see it as a distraction, a hindrance, or a problem. And yet, if we slow down and let go of our frustrations about trying to keep the heading we are working towards we see that Christ is with us, just in ways most unexpected. 
Question 1: Have you ever faced a moment where everything seemed to be crazy and the final straw dropped sending your brain into overload? How do you handle such moments? When you feel fear, worry, doubt, or anxiety rise up within your heart, what can you do to keep it at bay?
Question 2: What was one of the more unexpected ways Jesus worked in a situation in your life? Were you able to see it clearly at the time, or was it only hindsight which allowed you to see clearly?
Dear Father,
Please help us as we are weak in our moments
Thank you for being with us
Even when we don’t realize it’s you
Guide our eyes and our heart
So that we stay calm and hold on
To our faith in you

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Disciple's Fear

Matthew 14:27 comes in the middle of a story. Most people know the end of the story, for Peter gets out of the boat and walks on water with Jesus. Before this, Jesus had fed the 5000 and sent the disciples out into the boat, sent the crowd home, and spent some time in prayer. It was interesting to me to read how many people take this “do not be afraid” and put it with (1) Peter walking on the water or (2) the storm. But verse 26 states “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.” It was not the storm which caused the fear, though it played it’s part. It was not being without Jesus, though that had a hand in it as well. It was not what to do about the waves, though Peter paid too much attention to them in the end. It was Christ walking on the water which sent the fear through their heart. And what did Jesus do then?

Matthew 14 27

Matthew 14:27

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." (NIV)
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I: do not be afraid." (NAS)
But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid! (Amplified)

Matthew Henry:
* Even the appearances and approaches of deliverance are sometimes the occasions of trouble and perplexity to God's people, who are sometimes most frightened when they are least hurt.
* The perplexing, disquieting fears of good people, arise from thei mistakes and misapprehensions concerning Chris, his person, offices, and undertaking; the more clearly and fully we know his name, with the more assurance we shall trust in him.
* He straightaway relieved them by showing them their mistake; when they were wrestling with the waves, he delayed his succor for some time, but he hastened his succor against their fright, as much the more dangerous

* plainly implying that, since they perceive him to be present with them, there are abundant grounds of hope