Thursday, January 24, 2008

40 Fast::Days 11-17

Today is Day 17. The past week has flown by, not really from busy-ness, although there is always that, but from lots of decisions and praying and more decisions. The worst part is that we are in a bit of a flux, and some of the decisions are not ours to make, so we must wait to even let anyone know "Here's what God is doing."

I can say this: sometimes God closes every single door around you. You try all the handles. One by one, you get the same result: locked. You're starting to sweat and feel hopeless, helpless, trapped. Finally you're standing before the last door. You reach out a trembling hand, and somewhat to your surprise, and somewhat at your expectation--it is after all the last door, and God never abandons you to nowhere and nothingness--the handle turns. You are scared at what you might find behind that door, but when you turn back to look at all the locked doors behind you, you know that God has used those dead ends to lead you to this very door. This is your door. You open it, and it leads to another door, also unlocked, and another and another. But before you burst through each doorway into something completely new and a little terrifying, you must test this against His word and pray and continue to seek Him. It's not about that door, but about Him already waiting for you on the other side, beckoning you. And in the midst of seeking, you realize that perhaps these are the doors, if given total free choice, you would have chosen all along. And so you walk through hesitantly. And until another door closes and locks, you continue through the maze.

This is where Rob and I are. We don't feel like we can openly share with everyone where we think God might be leading us, until we've made sure none of the doors standing in front of us are locked.

My Scripture reading from last night spoke of the time when the disciples were out on a boat by themselves and a sudden storm came up. Jesus was off by himself praying. In the midst of their terror, they spotted Jesus walking toward them on top of the water. At first they thought it was ghost. Not only was the storm overtaking them, but now they're going to be ravaged by an evil spirit, so they thought. But Jesus said, "It is I. Don't be afraid." The very thing they were so afraid of turned out to be their only hope and best friend. That's when Peter joined Jesus on top of the water, and as he looked at his circumstance, you know, squalling waves and wind, he began to fear again and started to sink. Jesus had mercy on him, reached down and saved him, then climbed aboard the boat and rebuked the storm into nonexistence. It wasn't long before all this happened that the disciples had encountered another storm, but that time, Jesus was on the boat with them, sleeping. They cried out to him as he was physically right there, and Jesus calmed the storm. I've often wondered why this happened again. The same 12 guys, the same rickety boat, the same type of deadly storm. But this time Jesus wasn't there. Yet, he still protected them from the storm. He knew exactly where they were and that they were having trouble. (Surely from he could see the storm clouds brewing overhead...)and he still rescued them, showing even more of his power as he walked on top of the water.

Jesus was taking their faith from a faith in what they could see, to a faith in what they could not see. Was Jesus any less present during the second storm?

These stormy times here are similar for me. I haven't been able to feel his presence and direction. I've felt lost and tired and overcome by waves of hardship. But Jesus has never been absent. The storms do not come as a surprise to him.

And I think I see him in the distance, walking towards us.

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