Put Your Sword Back Girl!

WWI am a fighter.  I have said this before and will probably say it again. Anyone who knows me knows this to be 100% true.  One of my nicknames in High School was WONDER WOMAN – for a reason.  While I do not fight physically, I do stand up for what I believe & for those I love – I fight to defend Truth.  I do not shy away from battles, but dive into conflict and fight. However in recent months God has been revealing to me that not all battles are meant to be fought — by me: Not every single battle is mine to fight.

This reality hit me hard as I was reading Matthew’s Gospel this week where Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane with the disciples.  Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and the soldiers go to arrest him.  What happens next is not really a surprise to most of us “fighters”, as we would most likely do the same.   One of the disciples attempts to stop the arrest by drawing a sword.  Check out verses 51-54:

 51 At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear.  52 Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

Not exactly shocking, right?  One of the disciples jumps in to defend Jesus.  Makes sense! EXCEPT for one thing: Jesus did not ask to be defended, and he definitely did not need it.

This caused me to stop and think about the battles I have fought (or currently am fighting).  How many times do I fight battles Jesus never intended me to fight?  How many battles have I stepped into uninvited and un-needed.  How many times have I drawn my sworn, ready to fight, to fix, to defend, to win  — but Jesus never asked me to pull out that sword! Instead I did it of my own volition, effort, or desire.  My plan was to fight the battle, defend someone or something, fix something broke – to get it done!  MY PLAN! (not God’s)

ex 14My plan is to defend, to fight – but why?  Who asked me to fight the battle? Is this a battle Jesus asked me to fight or is it one he is already fighting for me? (winning by the way)  God is our Defender in the  same way he was for Israel as they fled from the Egyptians, when he parted the Red Sea to save them.  Remember that? God fought FOR his people – he fought the battle and won in a way they never could have on their own!

Jesus tells his defender that his sword is opposed to the fulfillment of Scripture- to God’s Will. He reminds us that our way interferes with God’s way if we are trying to fight when God himself is not asking us to fight.  We have to ask: Is God calling me to rise up and fight or is he commanding me to be still and wait on him.  Is it my fight or His?

thoughts-greaterOur way is not God’s way, the prophet Isaiah declares the great difference between our ways and thoughts, and those of God.  Just as Jesus teaches us here that sometimes the Will of God must be done in a way we don’t understand, and at times our fighting can even get in the way, so we are simply asked to BE STILL.

The Bottom Line: if we are going to pull out a sword to fight we better be sure it is Jesus himself who gave us that sword and asked us to defend and fight — otherwise we are fighting against the will of God.

Of course we have to use discernment and ask important questions: How do we know when to fight and when to put the sword away? What battles are mine and what are His?

We need to responsibly discern and seek God’s direction by asking:

  1. What is my motive for fighting this battle?  If I examine my own reason for fighting I will probably discover whether it is my battle or God’s.  When I let God have control over my heart, my mind, my plans – through humility I will find His way over my own.
  2. Does it hold up against the Word of God?  I am always called to defend Truth to an extent but not always in the same way.  Israel was told to be still and let God fight the Egyptians but then later they were sent into battle to take the Promised Land.  What in Scripture speaks into my present day situation?

1 corinthiansNow one thing we can do is let this text remind us that we don’t see it all – we don’t know it all.  The Father’s will is not our will and we do not get the whole picture like Jesus does.  We must intentionally acknowledge this daily.  Paul tells us that we only see part of the picture here on earth – we don’t have the view from eternity that God alone has.  So sometimes we want to grab that sword and fight, defend, but God might have a different plan – one we don’t want to be working against!

So while in the moment our sword, our fight, seems necessary – it might not be our battle to wage.  How many times is Jesus saying to us,

“put your sword back in its place . . . .or do you not think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels?”

God has more than he needs to fight your battles – so let him fight them.  Put your sword away and let God’s plan in your life be fulfilled.  Battle with prayer, declare his Victory – which is now yours.  But dont fight battles you were not meant to fight.  Let Jesus handle those.  Be still, and step into the Victory that Jesus has already won for you.

 

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From your heart to your mouth

Scripture: Matthew 12:33-37
Topic: out of good comes good

heartI keep finding myself in the midst of conversations that centers around Jesus’ teaching from today’s Scripture,

“For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart”.

It seems clear right?  No matter what we try to hide in our heart, it will somehow, someway,  and at sometime come out – it always does.  But even more than that – we are told here by Jesus that our words matter because we will be judged by them: condemned or acquitted.

So the things we try to hide in our heart – those things we push down, ignore, refuse to deal with- they will surface.  Like anger, bitterness, rage, jealousy, hurt, pain, betrayal, and so on – those things will find their way from our heart to our mouth and we will be “condemned” for the bad.  If the bad is in me , it will come out of me!  At least that is what Jesus clearly says here.

Yet it is not all bad, right?  Because if the things in our heart are good (like a good tree that bears good fruit) well then we will be “acquitted” by our words.  The good that is in me will come out too.  It will be evident, proof of what is inside – like apples on a tree.

So just like a bad tree bears bad fruit and a good tree bears good fruit, a good heart leads to good things out of the mouth, or as Jesus puts it,

A good person produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil person produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.”

Apple TreeJesus is speaking bluntly here: the good in us is going to come out, just like the bad in us is going to do the same.  So while important at times, maybe instead of working so hard to control our mouths and be polite, to say what is right and to think before we speak  . . . we must do the work in our heart so that the good that is there will come out of us.  And the only way to have good there is to have Jesus there.

The only way to have good there is to repent of our sin and to invite Jesus into our pain.  To give Jesus the bitterness, pain, anger – the betrayal we might feel.  To ask Jesus to come into the brokenness of our heart, so that his goodness reigns where our sin has tried to claim a stake.  To let Jesus take what is bad and make something new, beautiful, and GOOD!

And there is no better time I can think of, more poingant than Holy Week.  As we find ourselves on Maundy Thursday – the Last Supper and the Eve of Good Friday, there is no better time to do a little “heart” work.  No better time than the week we remember the very One who is Ultimately, Eternally, Perfectly “good”, no better time to work out the good in our own hearts.  To let Jesus take the sin that resides there and replace it with good.  So that good flows out, bursts out, spreads to others.

Because by nature He is good – I am not.  By nature He is love, I am not.  By nature He is perfect, I am not.  

prayerWhatever is in me is gonna come out, today my prayer is to let that be Jesus.  To let him reign in my heart, to bring, through Him, goodness and mercy – grace and love!  God, let this be what fills my heart and flows out of my mouth.  May my words honor Jesus because my heart is full of him- today on Maundy Thursday, tomorrow on Good Friday, Sunday as we celebrate the Resurrection, and well every day . . . .

may my heart be filled with Jesus  . . . .that he might flow through me, producing good things in me that in turn flow out of me.

Blessings this Holy Week as you walk thought the final days of Jesus.  May he fill your heart as he flows through you and out of you into the world!  As you experience the pain of the cross, sit in the darkness of good Friday, wait in the silence of Saturday – yet all while ready to rejoice over the empty tomb, to Celebrate the Hope on Resurrection Sunday!  And yes to say that indeed HE IS GOOD, and because of HIS goodness I too can have goodness flow out of me.

 

Where is your Trust?

Weekly Reading: 2 Samuel 16: 5-14
Topic:  Trust that Restores Goodness

trustWe all put our trust in someone or something.  As Christians we are supposed to TRUST in God – but let’s face one fact:     we do not always trust God perfectly.  Sometimes we think we are trusting God, but it turns out we are trusting someone else without even realizing it.  We trust our spouse more than we trust God working IN our spouse.  We trust our leaders before we trust God’s leading IN their lives.  We trust our parents because of who they are not and not who God is IN them. And oh so often we trust ourselves before we trust what God is doing IN us.

In order to keep going, we look to our own achievements and successes, what we have done in the past, what we have accomplished or proven we are capable of  – as opposed to what God has done, is doing, and will do in us and through us.  We trust in ourselves and not necessarily in God, at least not all the time and not perfectly.  I think this is called “being human”. In humility can we ask a hard question: How many times have we called it “Trusting God” when we are really trusting ourselves?

popularIn today’s text we see this whole TRUST THING played out in the context of King David.  He is the anointed King of Israel, the one who has saved them from the Philistines and lead them well.  He is loved and adored by most of Israel, but not everyone.  David still has enemies.  Even after waiting almost 20 years to be King and eluding the the various attempts at his life by King Saul – 2 Samuel 16 reminds readers that even David still had enemies.  David, the anointed King of Israel, was not Mr. Popular to 100% of the people.

In today’s reading we see a dramatic example of this, Shimei, from the house of Saul, curses David (for full reading click the link at the beginning of the blog):

Throwing stones at David Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, you wicked man! The Lord has paid you back for all the blood of the house of Saul in whose place you became king, and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. Look, you are in trouble because you’re a man of bloodshed!

 Abishai responded, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and remove his head!

But then David responds, “Sons of Zeruiah, do we agree on anything? He curses me this way because the Lord told him, ‘Curse David!’ Therefore, who can say, ‘Why did you do that?’11  . . .  “Look, my own son, my own flesh and blood, intends to take my life—how much more now this Benjaminite! Leave him alone and let him curse me; the Lord has told him to. 12 Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimei’s curses today. 

Shimei kept on cursing, stone throwing, and kicking up dust!  He did not stop!

I think we can all relate to Abishai a bit – at times we have wanted to defend someone who is so clearly our leader- our person.  Maybe we can also relate to Shimei as one who sees hurt, pain, loss and is blinded by it – unable to see God’s anointing on David as the King of Israel because of what has happened in his family – to him personally.

But David, well he is the one who has much to teach us in today’s story.  How can we identify with him, his situation, and most importantly the way  he handles the cursing?  Here are a few things to NOTE:

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  1. When you are faithful to God (even as an anointed leader) not everyone will see what God has done through you. Not everyone will love and adore you – not everyone will follow you.  Faithfully following God does not always equal popularity and will almost certainly never result in 100% approval from others.  You will ALWAYS have enemies and people who disagree with you.
    • Point One begs the question:  Am I leading to please God or to please man?  This says a lot to us.
  2. Our response to those who don’t love us, who aren’t on our side, and even those who curse us will reveal in whom we place our trust.
    • Abishai reminds us that a “Trust in me!” attitude is the one that involves me taking matters into my own hands – fixing it and fixing it now. (remove  his head!)
    • But David displays the “Trust in God” attitude as he leaves things in God’s hands – blessing v. cursing through God’s restoration. (Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimei’s curses today)
  3. A humble response points to God, where as a knee-jerk reaction reveals my lack of trust in God.
    • While Abishai had the right idea to defend the King, he didn’t think it through.  He reacted, quickly – maybe even with emotion.  His response was limited to his human wisdom and ability.
    • David turned it on God – put it on him.  He trusted that God would defend him if he was innocent and even humbly made room for the possibility that he deserved the cursing for past sin.

trust GodWow!  It’s quite a story.  David was quite a King.  And this is one incredible example of TRUST and humility, in leadership but also in following God.

Where is your trust?  Is it in God where it will not fail?  Or is it in human hands where you will probably be limited by human ability?

TRUST in God will restore you to the goodness of God- it will grow you and challenge you, and such TRUST will never ever fail you.  It didn’t fail David then, and it will not fail you now.  It might just restore you to goodness.

If you ask for a blueberry, it shall be given unto you.

blueberryJust the other morning Nailah and Karianne (our twenty-month old twin daughters) were getting blueberries out of the frig while I was putting items back inside.  While the frig door was open they were standing on the bottom ledge of the refrigerator as to reach in and grab “Boo-berries”.  Of course,  Nailah started it, and her twin sister soon followed. Naturally when I had to close the door, I asked them to move out of the way.  As I gathered a few blueberries in my hands and offered a couple to each girl things unraveled a bit (this happens often in a house with four girls, two of them twins under two).

There reactions were a little bit different, one might say!

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Karriane (Left) & Nailah (Right)

Karianne – accepts the blueberries, smiles and eats them up, then goes on her way.

Nailah -throws her self on the floor and cries, refusing the blueberries (shaking her head no, while also saying “NO!”), and then proceeds with a full out tantrum.  All because I had the nerve to cut her off from direct blueberry access (by closing the frig door of course).

I was offering Nailah exactly what she wanted, “boo-berry” – I was even making it easier and safer, more effective by giving them to her- taking away the risk that she would spill them all over the floor, shatter the glass and get cut, slip on the ledge of the frig and get hurt, etc. I was offering her the very thing she was asking for . . .

but it wasn’t on her terms, and it wasn’t her way.

How often are we this way with God?  We ask him for something and he gives it to us, but its not on our terms. It is not our way so we don’t see it for what it is: the very thing we asked for, the very way we need it – our answer to prayer.

In Matthew 7 Jesus teaches us about prayer by saying,

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Jesus promises us that the Father gives us the good things we need- he hears our prayers and gives us what we ask.  He makes it clear that God is not trying to trick us by messing around with his beloved children.  He doesn’t give us a stone when we ask for bread because a stone will not satisfy our hunger, and its not good for us the way bread is.  And he doesn’t give us a pebble when we ask for a blueberry – but he might give us a blueberry instead of letting us put our hand in the jar and take it ourselves. 

toddlerJesus reminds us that just as a Mama wants to give her child what she NEEDS, God too wants to give us what we need.  And he will do just that, but do we recognize and accept it with gratitude?  Or do we throw a toddler tantrum because its not our way?

Are you missing what God is giving you because its not the exact way you want it – are you missing the blueberry in your life because you want to stand on the ledge of the frig and take the blueberry out of the glass bowl yourself, instead of humbly and gratefully receiving the one be handed to you by God?

I can’t help but think, how many times do we pass up the blessings of God, not hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit, or ignore the answers to our own prayers? Why?  Because our idea of what we need OR even the way we need it is not only different from God’s, but no where near as good.

Remember what God said in Genesis 1 as he created man and woman,

“So God created humankind in his image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them,  . . . 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

If you are created in the image of God and favored by him, if you are GOOD, then God’s promise to give you good things is not one to take lightly.  Because he loves you more than you love your own child, and he not only knows what is best for you – what is good- he plans to give it to you.

goodGod is only going to give you good things – meaning things that are good for you.  They might not always feel GOOD, seem GOOD – sometimes they might feel the opposite of good.  Remember that good means you are being molded into his image, into the person he has created you to be – and good hurts sometimes because molding and shaping is not easy.  It changes you, it transforms you, it grows you – and that can be hard. But good is what you should want and it is definitely what you need.  And it is 100% what God wants to give you.

So if you ask for a blueberry (and that blueberry is good and part of God’s plan for you), it shall be given unto you – now take it and say thank you (and eat it up). And in that gratitude recognize that God has given you exactly what you need, in the precise way you need it, at the most perfect time – and that my friend is good.

I don’t iron my pants

As I was walking to church a few Sundays ago I looked down at my pant legs and realized just how wrinkled they were.  I mean it was pretty clear I had pulled them out of a draw, thrown them on, and headed over to the church for Worship.  I remember chuckling out loud at myself.  Oops!  I guess I am getting up in front of 150 plus people this morning with wrinkled pants. Truth be told, I can’t even say it was the first time.

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There is a question I get asked frequently, probably multiple times a week:  How do you do it? (sometimes in the form of a statement: I don’t know how you do it).  Of course this is in reference to the fact that I am a mother to four young girls (7 and under), the two youngest being twins, as well as a full time Pastor, Head of Staff, at Woodstown Presbyterian Church.  This question is often paired with a concerned face – almost as if to express the very feeling of overwhelm that fills one’s head just trying to imagine “how it is done”.  My response is pretty simple and direct: I just do it!

And that is the absolute truth – I don’t have a formula or a specific methodology – I just get it done.  But really, what is “it”?  It is balancing my kids and my church, my family and my work, my marriage and my other relationships – “it” is balancing life.  And what is at the core of my balancing act? Prioritization!  You see, I have the same amount of hours in the day as any hard-working Mama (those who work in and out of the home) and all the pressures and burdens that come with any pastorate. Be mindful that I also have all the beautiful blessings that come in being both Mom to my girls and Pastor to my church family.  And while those blessings keep me going, they don’t get “it” done.

It gets done when I learn (often the hard way) what to let go of and what to pour into, what matters and what does not, what is meaningful and what can be sacrificed , what needs immediate attention and what can wait.  It gets done when my priorities are clearly defined and attended to.  Priorities being God, Family, Church – other stuff.

So that is correct, I don’t iron my pants.  And oops, my hair is not always perfect.  My outfits are rarely new, but are from last season (and sometimes 3 or 4 seasons ago if they still fit).  I don’t dust often or vacuum regularly. I won’t be winning any fashion awards or finishing in any clean house competitions victoriously.  My girls sometimes leave the house with the same hairdo they woke up with.  Maisie, our 4-year old, chooses her outfits and her shoes are almost always on the wrong feet.  Adeline, our 7 year old, helps to herd the twins down the steps and into the car for me.  I am the Mom who forgets permission slips, is last in the carpool line, and I almost always forget a detail or confuse a scheduled appointment or dance class. I am that Mom at Target with four kids, one cart, one stroller, and utter chaos happening. And this once type A, anal-retentive, obsessive- compulsive gal, who was on time to everything – is consistently 5 minutes late (and it kills me!)

But my girls are loved, most nights I am there to put them to bed and to watch The Greatest Showman for the 15th time.  My husband and I manage date nights once in awhile, and we take time away when family can stay with the girls.  I set aside time every morning to read the Word and to pray, often with my husband.  My family of 6 is at church every week.  I invest in my relationships with friends and with family.  Priorities.  They are what matters in my life, and that is how I do It.  

ecclesiastes It is the things that matter most, those I love.  Jesus. My husband.  My kids. My Family. My friends.  My church.  It is the things that matter, the things that will last.  I don’t want to spend time chasing after the meaningless things in this world, and then allowing those meaningless things to dictate my time, my mood, my mind, my life — my priorities.

I don’t iron my pants.  Not because I don’t want to, but because for me it would mean giving up something else more important in order to accomplish it.  Less prayer time, less time with my kids, less time to prepare Sunday morning for church, less time to talk with Robert, less time on the phone with my friend from seminary that I haven’t talked to in months.  Nope – the pants are staying wrinkled and the people are getting my attention.  Priorities.

That extra hour of sleep would be nice in the morning but I won’t sacrifice my time in God’s Word or the beauty that comes in sipping my coffee in the presence of His silence.  Priorities.

philippians

How do I do it?  Priorities.  I just do it.  It being what I love,  It being the most important things to me.  It being God, family, church, relationships – all of those blessings God has showered upon me.  The ones that come in the form of responsibilities and commitments, the ones I love.  When Paul tells us to have the same mindset as Christ in our relationships, is he not telling us just that: to prioritize the people we love and treat them as Jesus would.

So I don’t apologize for wrinkled pants, or out of date outfits, or kids with crazy curly hair – as long as it means I am loving them well and making them my priority – I am okay with it.  Let me encourage you to be okay with it too – put first what matters most and let go of the rest.  In your relationships, take on the mind of Christ and love the people he has given you to love – love them well!  Love what matters most and make your priorities those very things you love.

 

Waiting to be gracious

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#twinlife

With four girls that are seven and under there are many time-outs in the Mera house.  Time away from each other, a break for Mom, different play areas for the twins (18 months old) so they don’t pull each others hair out – you get the picture?  On the 1-2 days per week that I am home all day with all four girls there is a blessed afternoon time slot -NAP TIME.  Since three out of four still nap, that quiet time is one of indulgence for this Mama!

But I have to say- whether they are taking quiet time in their rooms for sanity purposes or naps to rest and renew their energy, there is a part of me that waits for them to wake up or for that timer to go off.  It is just so weird how my heart misses them and looks forward to their presence again, even when I desperately need that quiet break.  Even when they have done something to anger me, or harm one another – I wait to see them again.

It is even the same when Robert and I get away for a night or a weekend.  While we love the time together (and the much needed respite), there is always a part of my heart that longs for the girls.  I miss them!  I always say that motherhood ruined me for life – I need time away but when I am away I miss them like crazy.  I just can’t WAIT to see them whenever I am not with them.   Isn’t it funny how nothing my girls do, no matter how they may anger me, makes me want to be out of their presence for long.  Sure enough, I will miss them and find myself waiting to see them again.

Usually when we talk about “waiting” in our faith, it is in the context of us waiting – waiting on God.  As believers we know this is part of our story, as a matter of fact it is probably the majority of our faith journey – waiting.  Waiting on God’s timing or an answer to our prayer, for his healing, his guidance, his presence.  We are a people of waiting, no doubt.

isaiahBut the prophet Isaiah speaks to another facet of waiting (30: 18-19).  In a time when Israel was far from God, when their choices lead them away from the covenantal relationship they had with their Creator, Isaiah talks about waiting in the verse here. But the crazy thing is that it’s not in the context of Israel waiting on God, but of God waiting on her.  Israel has made some poor choices and they have aligned themselves with empires like Egypt, Assyria and turned from God.  Sin separates them from God – they have not declared their wait, but God has declared his!

In the verses above, Isaiah boldly declares that God is waiting on Israel, on her return.  But he is not just waiting to say hi and to welcome her home.  He is waiting to be gracious to his people.  He is waiting to show mercy to them.  He is waiting for them to cry to him, so that he might respond with merciful and gracious love.

As a Mom I get this waiting.  At the end of a nap when I hear Nailah or Karianne cry (even if I still need a little more down time) my gut instinct is to comfort them, to pick them up, hug and kiss them, to show them love.  I am waiting for them to wake up (on some level) because I love being with them.  Even if they were driving me mad before nap, and I needed that break . . . there is still a longing to have them back close to me.

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Things are NOT always this glamorous!

When the older girls are in time out for constant bickering or wining, for not sharing or for being unkind – I long to bring them back together to apologize, hug, and to move on.  I find that I have been waiting to show them mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love; to teach them how to show these things to one another.  Their poor choices don’t lessen my desire to be with them in the mother-daughter relationship.

God waits for us in even bigger and better ways than this.  He waits for us to turn to him when we are far from him.  He waits to be gracious to us.  But its not the image of the mother with hands on her hips and a tapping foot, whose teenager is out past curfew.  Instead, its the image of the mother whose child returns from being gone for years, arms open to embrace and forgive.

Isaiah says to Israel that God is not waiting to punish them, but to show them mercy and be gracious to them.  Don’t get me wrong, there are consequences for Israel’s sin – and there are consequences for ours.  But the desire of our God is that we be with him, that we receive his gracious love and endless mercy.

So no matter what we have done or where we have been – God is waiting for us.  He is waiting for you – to be gracious to you and show you his mercy.  Whatever your choices, your sin, your unfaithfulness, or your distance – God is waiting for you to cry to him.

god waitsSo think about it. How is God waiting on you?  In what way is your Savior calling you into his grace? How does he want to show you mercy?

Cry out to Jesus.  “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.”

God waits for you.

 

little faith is better than none

IMG_1650“I can do it” is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of my youngest daughter, Maisie.  At 2 years old she is smack in the middle of the “independent” phase.  Whether it is putting her shoes on, pulling up her pants, climbing into the car, or opening /closing just about anything, “I can do it” is her motto.   It always takes longer and often requires adult help (or at least supervision) but she is determined that she can do it on her own.

Until she is forced to utter those dreaded words, “I help” (Meaning I need help of course). Yes, that’s right sometimes Maisie just has to admit that she cannot do it on her own, that she needs help . . . and at times she needs saving from her failed attempt to do it on her own (i.e.: falling over with one leg stuck in her pants and the other only half way in).  She has to turn to Mama (or another adult at times) and have faith that she will take over and get things done.

As adults we face the same challenge in our walk with Jesus.  Sometimes we forget that our faith should be in Jesus, not ourselves and our own abilities, but in him alone.  Sometimes we have to admit that our little faith isn’t enough to get us where we are going, but that our Savior is.  It seems like the disciples had to learn this lesson a number of different ways.  One story comes to mind from the Gospel of Matthew . . .

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

littleBefore we have little faith we have to have some faith.  Peter got out of the boat and walked on water as a response to Jesus calling him.  He had the faith to respond to Jesus when he commanded Peter to, “Come”.  Now along his journey, short as it may have been, his faith wavered, it was little.  He took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the pending threat, the wind and I imagine the huge waves it was causing.  When he took his eyes off the One who imparts faith and placed it on the thing that threatens that very faith, then his faith became little.  But when he took his first step out of that boat, and onto the water, his FAITH was big and it was real.

In order to have “little faith” you have to have some faith.

And maybe that is where we start when we feel lost, when we appear faithless.  Maybe we need to go back to the first time we heard Jesus say, “Come”.  We need to return to the first step we took out of the boat.  We must go back to the time we walked on water.  We then insist on looking past the little to the FAITH, so we hold onto the truth of the One who gave us the faith to begin with, remembering that it is about Him and not about us alone.

Jesus took Peter’s little faith and made it big.  Because unless your Bible says differently, Peter made it back into that boat.  He walked on the water, through the wind and the waves, and he climbed back into the boat through the rescue of his Savior.  But he didn’t do it on his own.  It was not about mustering up enough strength to be able to get to the boat, nor was it about breaking down and swimming (something he could have done on his own).  No, it was not about him or what he could do.  Instead, it was about Jesus and what he could do.  He took hold of the hand extended to him by Jesus and climbed into the boat – where he worshipped the true Son of God.

One thing I noticed this time when reading this familiar passage is that Jesus took Peter back into the boat.  He called him out into the water but then he took him back to the boat.  Jesus used Peter’s little faith to show him who he was and then placed him safely back in the boat with his friends.  Jesus didn’t force Peter to have faith he couldn’t yet grasp, he didn’t throw him into the waves and insist that he face a danger he wasn’t yet ready to confront.  He took his hand and led him to the safety of the boat.
And it was in the safety of the boat, with Jesus, that Peter and the disciples worshipped the True Son of God.  The wind ceased, the waves with them, and there in the calmness of that boat Jesus showed Peter, and those with him, exactly who he was: The Son of God.

mydesign.pngJesus met Peter where he was, a believer with little faith, and he saved him from drowning and put him back in the boat that he first called him out of, out onto the water.

In order to have a little faith, you have to have faith.  You have to start somewhere, and you have to do it with Jesus – trusting that he will meet you where you are (drowning in the ocean or walking on the water) and he will take your little faith and show you exactly who he is, and how much you need him to reach out and save you.