Faithfulness ~ Holy Land Trip (Part 9 of 10)

Read Matthew 14:22-33 and potentially memorize verse 31.

*This story is enhanced if you pre-read “Too Important to Ever Forget.”*

I finally took the trip I had been anticipating since childhood. My wife, Lynda, and I went to the Holy Land. It was absolutely incredible. To see places of Biblical significance was truly inspirational. It was heartbreaking, witnessing the current cultural conflict. Many of the sites along our journey were fascinating and disappointing all at the same time. Places of simple beginnings were so over-run with tourist chaos that one could not even imagine the original setting. Regardless, my mind was continually stretched and my eyes were opened and my Biblical appreciation grew.

The places that touched my heart, beyond all others, were the places of natural beauty. Lynda and I were deeply moved as we remembered our baptism in the Jordan. As we stood at the banks of sea, we imagined the disciples fishing while Jesus spoke to them. But the place, the moment, the event that filled my chest with grace, was a trip on a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

We set sail with our group of tourists who had become friends through pilgrimage. It was a beautiful day. The water was graceful as it met the ascending hills all around its banks. The boat glided silently and the chaos of humanity slipped away. The shoreline was undisturbed and I could easily imagine Jesus along a hillside offering the sermon on the mount. I visualized a crowd of people, hungry for food and hungry to hear his Word, I found myself attempting to become a part of the story. I longed to be a participant. I was in the right place, only separated by time.

As if God knew of my longing, the clouds literally rolled in, the wind increased, the temperature dropped and a light afternoon rain began to fall.

I could see Jesus dismissing the crowds, sending the disciples ahead on the very boat I sailed. And the Bible, once again, put me in the center and begged me to consider who I am and who I want to be.

I imagine there is no shelter on the boat but blatant exposure to the elements. I imagine it is loud, chaotic and nerve wracking. I bet the visibility is limited. I imagine clothing is soaked from waves licking over the sides and heavy garments are cumbersome or discarded. I imagine there is a lot of chaos in the air. How far are we from shore? Too close to rocks and we destroy the boat. Too far and peril if the boat capsized. I imagine there is fear, doubt, conflict and confusion among the disciples. I imagine some folks keep their head and some folks lose their cool.

And then Jesus approaches the boat, walking on the water completely at peace. I imagine some see him clearly, easily and quickly. Some recognize the figure to be Christ. I imagine some see a ghost. And I imagine some never see anything at all. And then, in the midst of noise, confusion, doubt and fear, Jesus speaks. I imagine some hear him and others do not. And in the midst of the improbable, walking on the water, without another word spoken, Jesus suggests the impossible. His mere presence on the water seemingly asks for the unfeasible. It suggests the impractical, the ludicrous, the ridiculous, and the dangerous. And one heeds the call, begs to join Jesus and boldly steps over the side of the boat, risking everything while trusting completely.

I imagine Peter was full of crazy emotions: the rush of adrenaline and rising fear, the desire to trust Christ while fighting the panic of drowning. I imagine a moment of realization when he stepped beyond security and found an unexplainable foothold on the top of the water. I sense Peter holding his breath, maybe because he was afraid or maybe because he was excited. And I imagine that just when he realized that what Christ had asked was impossible, when a moment of doubt began to creep into his soul that his trust began to fail that his feet began to lower. I imagine his eyes grew in size, his heart raced and his arms reached to Christ. And Jesus pulled him close, lifted him up, and wrapped his arms around him.

I bet there were those in the boat who missed the whole thing. Some saw, but could not believe their eyes. Some witnessed, believed and grew in hunger to trust more in Christ than in human limitation.

As I stood at the side of the boat, leaning on the rail, my sacred imaging brought me to my metaphorical knees. Once again, I stood in my 21th Century body and I contemplated a Biblical story in my contemporary life.

I imagine the storms of life rage around. But these are not definable storms. Even though there are many of us in the same boat, the storm manifests itself differently for each. For some, the storm has never been stronger, the waves have never been higher and some have never been more afraid. For some, we are blind to the storm. The security of the boat lulls us into a false sense of peace. There are people drowning just beyond our hull and we don’t hear the cries and fail to even throw a life preserver. Some of us have come to love the storm, trust it, bathe in it, and seek it. These are the storms of distraction: human prosperity, human achievement, and human affirmation. Some of us have lost ourselves in those storms and no longer seek shelter from their uncompromising demands.

And yet Jesus stands in the midst of the storm, his mere presence silently calling the faithful. Some will see. Others will not. And then in the midst of noise, confusion, doubt and fear, Jesus speaks of peace. I imagine some hear him and others do not. And he seemingly asks for the impossible. His mere presence suggests the impractical, the ludicrous, the ridiculous, and the dangerous. Few will answer and take the step beyond human reason to experience divine transformation. And yet one may heed and boldly step over the side of the boat, risking everything while trusting completely.

And through this act of human faith in a loving Christ, miracles of faith are achieved among us. Among humanity, in regards to Christ, some miss the whole thing. Some will see but not believe their eyes. Some will see an apparition. Thankfully, some see Christ for who he is, step out in faith and trust more in Christ than human limitation and faith, shear faith will prove to be a miracle.

Christ is there, just beyond the security of human awareness. Do you see?

Christ is calling, amidst the loud chaos of  raging storms. Do you hear?

Christ’s presence suggests the impractical,

the ludicrous,

the ridiculous,

the dangerous.

Are you ready to respond?

Christ is ready to provide a miracle of faith. Are you ready to be one?

This is too important to ever forget. Faith is yours to claim. You may look beyond your personal boat, see Christ, and have proof in your heart; however, you will never be able to prove Christ to anyone who does not want to see. When you claim faith as your own, God has the opportunity to encourage your spiritual growth through the power of the Holy Spirit revealed in a harvest of Spiritual Fruit.

You were born and given the free will to choose faithfulness and to offer faith to a doubting world. As you stand on your faith, oh get ready. God may call you to something that may seem impractical and ludicrous. Umm, hold on, you are given all the courage you will need to step over, step up, step out and step beyond your human limitation to become divinely transformed. Sooooo, get excited, miracles of faith are challenging and never boring!

Today, more than any other day, choose faithfulness as your demeanor. Boldly claim faith deep in your heart where doubt claimed before. Share faith, repeatedly and enthusiastically. May this string around your finger elicit a breath prayer every time you see it. May your prayer remind you that faith is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is yours to seek, experience and share.

Be challenged. And then be ready to be blessed by faithfulness.

Tie a string around your eighth finger and may it remind you to claim faith, own faith, and grow in confidence of who God is and who God has called you to be.

Choose a breath prayer and memorize. Here are three examples for your consideration:

    1. “Holy Spirit, fill me with faith. Use me to inspire faithfulness.”
    2. “May the seed of faith in me, bear Fruit of faithfulness around me.”
    3. “As I rest in the Holy Spirit, faith rests in me.” 

Repeat this prayer to yourself every time you glance at the string around your finger.

Say it. . .maybe 20 times today.

Mean it when you say it at least 5 times.

Change what you are doing to reflect this prayer at least once, today.

May this spiritual discipline today, bring you closer to God and closer to the person God hopes you will become.

Take time to reflect, journal, pray.

In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.

What’s important to you? What really matters?

Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.

Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.

That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.

Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.

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