Thursday, April 8, 2010

walking on water

I wish you could come sit down next to me and experience the absolute peace flooding into my bedroom right now. It's a crisp, cool late morning, the sun is shining but not abrasive, and the birds are singing sweetly. Louie Giglio is talking to me from Kurt's computer, and I'm overwhelmed by the tangible presence of God right here and now. I know that He's always here... He promised that He would be (Joshua 1:5), but sometimes I can't FEEL Him.

I'm learning that the walk of a disciple of Christ is not all about "feeling". Yet, emotions were given us by God when we were created in His image. People talk to me all the time about "hearing from God", "hearing the voice of God", feeling "led" to do this or that.  And I've experienced that. I have.  A sense in my Spirit or an idea that I know did NOT come from me, because it's either so far OUT there or so brilliant that I wouldn't take credit for it if someone asked. Sometimes, though, the things in life - chaos, circumstances, desires, doubt, fear, surprises, pain, business, exhaustion - can push me under water where the voice of God is muffled and distorted.

You know what things sound like under water?   In my Red-Cross swimming lessons, I once had to do the "dead man's float" for 5 full minutes. (I could breathe when I had to, but had to go right back to floating)  In the water, everything is quiet save a distant seeming splash or a garbled series of tones.  It's isolating - which, for me, was part of the appeal of swimming as a kid.  But before long, the strain of staying afloat, the lack of plentiful oxygen, and the blocking out of sensory input is wearing.

See, we were not created to live in the water. If we had to, we could survive. We've invented things like oxygen masks, flotation devices, and wet suits to help with life in the water. There are even these cool "coms" inside of scuba rigs that let divers talk to each other.
But ultimately, man was created for dry land.

It's not a perfect analogy (what is?), but I think sometimes we're diving and we don't realize it. Or we're floating, or we're sinking. I've been all three.  And there's nothing wrong with it. I don't think we're going to be relaxing on the beach until we leave Earth as it is now.
But when I'm submerged in water, I can't hear God clearly. And sometimes, when I'm drowning, all I can do is push my hand up out of the water and wave it back and forth praying for God to grab ahold of it.
And you know what? He does. Every time.

Sometimes He just holds my hand and keeps me from drowning, but he doesn't pull me up too far. It can feel like an eternity of nothing but the vague sensation of a hand holding mine. There are so many other sensations happening that paying full attention to my one hand is impossible.
And then there are times when God tugs a little bit and I realize that He's there. I quit struggling and still my soul and let Him lead. And on days like today, I get the sense that He's pulled my head above the water.
I drink in the fresh, oxygen-rich air and look my Savior in the face, and I can hear His voice without the interference of the oceanic tide.

Ooh. I didn't plan on this analogy, but it's working! lol
Christ is a steady place to cling to. And He gives us the power to not only survive in the water, but thrive.  Life is unpredictable, and we won't always have the sensation of resting against the buoy and drinking in the sunlight and the face of God. But I do believe that He intends for us to seek Him and carve out spaces in our lives where we can stop struggling against the tide and let Him pull us up.

So that's my journey as a disciple. He's so present. And today, I get to FEEL Him and His love.

Psalm 61:1-5 (The Message)

"God, listen to me shout, 
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I'm far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, "Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!"

You've always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You've always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know 
and love you."

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