The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking on Water

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you, " Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "you of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:25-31)

I used to read this passage when going through difficult times. I always interpreted it as "Every time I take my eyes off Jesus, I sink. Jenny... get more faith... keep your focus.... you can do this." Me. Me. Me. Is that what you gather from this passage? If there is anything I'm learning about the Gospel is that it is only by Christ we are "getting" anything.

Lord, save me!
This is where my heart rests. These very three words. These are the important words. What do we do when we see the wind and the waves? Because, let's be honest, the wind and the waves sometimes physically block our view. We are deterred. Paul speaks about the storms and the evil one literally and physically keeping him from reaching his desired destination. Did he lack faith? Was he not focusing on Christ?

Lord, save me!
This is what we often fail to say when we are sinking. I forget to cry out a prayer of rescue in challenging moments. Why? My lack of faith that He is able to actually rescue? Was this what Christ was referring to when he said to Peter.."you of little faith." Was Peter doubting at that moment that Jesus could actually rescue him? When Jesus engages with us amidst our suffering and fear, we are able to see him as the Great Rescuer He truly is. We must be willing to walk out on the water, even if we can't see his face.

May today it not be about me and my abilities. Oh God, as the wind and waves swell in the mundane and chaos of my life, may I cry out Lord, save me! And most importantly, give me the faith to believe you can and will and do. Engage with me today in the storms. Call me out onto the sea, so I may experience you deeper.

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14:32)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

He's doing Fall.

"Mommy, it's doing Fall!"

I can still hear Emma Faye exclaiming this news to me across the playground. Her hair, a tangled mess, was forcing her to balance on the swing clinging to a single chain with one hand while the other brushed the whirling strands away from her eyes.

"See the leaves? It's Fall today!"

This statement made me laugh. Only in the south can you literally have a week of Summer followed by one day of Fall. It was humorous to me that she had perceived this on her own. Josh was running in a soccer field screaming at the top of his lungs.

I laugh again. This is Josh. And he would be doing this same exact activity inside our house during this very moment. I was thankful for the wide open space. Today in this hour, there was provided for him an appropriate arena for his favorite activity.

I kept re-playing Emma Faye's words. It's doing Fall. Hmm, "It". No, I thought. He. HE is doing Fall. As much as I have longed for Fall days, I can't make them happen. Only HE can. I thought about all the things that the Lord controls; that He does. There are so many choices we are given in this life. We live in a world of options. But there are areas we are allowed no access. We can't turn the ocean tides. We can't create life. We can't make a heart beat. We can't make the sun rise and set. But He does. And as long as the sun rises and sets, we know He is doing it. He is working. There is hope in the knowing that He's still doing it. He's still making life. And He's still working in lives. We can't force His timing. We can't skip over His steps. Sometimes we just have to rest in Him while we wait for our seasons to change.

(I was reminded of a poem I wrote during this time a few years ago. Thought I'd share.....)

My Invisible God

Who is this invisible God? Who is He?
Though invisible, I still can see.
Did the blade of grass find his brilliant green?
Was his colored crown not given from His king?
Did the lumpy pumpkin paint his own skin?
Who thought orange was perfect for him?
Who tells Fall when to bring the cold air?
Who tells Winter how long to keep it there?
Who has opened a woman’s womb?
Who has set eyes on the fullest moon?
Who has heard the infant cry
in perfect hands and toes, nose and eyes?
Who has seen the changed man?
Once prideful or cruel, now broken stands?
The very Invisible God, is He!
Whose very hands have a hold on all we see.
Though invisible, still He is visibly seen
in all, and through all, and all in between.
--jenny pruitt

Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being, ” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 66:1-2)