Wow...it has been a long time since I posted anything here. Life has been pretty hectic for a while now, but that is hardly an excuse. I think my absence from this blog has been largely due to the fact that I have been in a maelstrom the past year and have hardly been able to gather my thoughts, much less write them out. On the other hand, the winds and waves that life has sent my way have given me a new and profound perspective on how God has been at work in my life.
From an outsider's view, I have pretty much hit the bottom. I have been unemployed for the better part of 16 months, my job searches have proven fruitless, and every venture I set myself to seems to yield nothing but wasted time and effort. From a worldly perspective, I am a failure.
While my friends and family are supportive and loving, there seems to be an undercurrent of pity, and in some cases, down right scorn. I understand these sentiments, because in the past I have felt the same way about others. Self-righteousness and pride have often blinded me to the truth of this world, the fight we are in, and my own role in that battle. I have come to the conclusion that these are the very things that God has been exposing in me, and through that exposure, cleansing me of.
As I said, I have been in a storm of epic proportions. Simple things, like paying bills and providing food and shelter for my family, have taken on a level of difficulty that I would never have believed possible a few years ago. There have been many times over the past year and a half that I have wondered how I would make it, and if I even really cared if I did. The storm has been dark, and it has stripped me of everything that I used to depend on or stake my identity on.
That, I think, is exactly what God had in mind.
In Matthew chapter 8, there is a short snippet of a story in which Jesus and the disciples have taken to the open sea only to encounter a tremendous storm. While the passage doesn't include a whole lot of details, by looking at the characters involved you can flesh out quite a bit of the story. Many of the disciples were fishermen. They had grown up on the sea and in boats, and surely had faced a few storms. I imagine that they reacted as fishermen would, to this storm, bailing water, fastening lines and sails,basically doing everything in their power to survive. When all hope is lost, they turn in panic to Jesus.
I can relate to this story. I have been working since I was 13 years old, always depending on my own abilities and intelligence to make it. Jobs seemed to come easy, and through hard work and determination, I excelled at whatever I did. God rarely, if ever, entered the picture. Until I got fired. Then, the next job I took ended suddenly when the owners closed the doors to their restaurant.
I felt my world crumbling around me. My confidence was shattered. The abilities and experience that I had relied on for so long were now empty and useless. Opportunity after opportunity slipped through my fingers and I began to feel isolated. Alone. Hopeless.
Like the disciples, it wasn't until all hope seemed lost that I turned to Jesus for help. As in their story, Jesus proved that no storm is beyond His control. As in their story, He also made it clear to me that he was with me in the boat the entire time. As He rebuked my storm, He showed me all the ways that he had sheltered me from it. The provision that He had given. The grace that He had shown. Like the disciples, I felt foolish for my doubts.
He also reminded me of another story. In this story, the disciples are once again on the open sea and facing the wind and waves. This time, Jesus had sent them ahead, and in obedience, they were facing danger. In my story, my desire to walk in obedience has me, once again, facing a storm. In their story, Jesus comes to them; walking on water, rebuking their fear. My story is much the same. I see Christ is present in the storm. Like Peter, I am attempting to defy all logic and reason and walk on water toward my Savior. Thanks to the telling of this story, I understand That as long as I keep my eyes on Him and ignore the storm raging around me, I will be fine. I have assurance that he can, and will, calm this storm as well...
...and something great is going to happen.