In the Waiting

I’m not sure why, but when I think of God’s leading in my life, I imagine doors swinging wide open before me, but I rarely think of those that will slam completely shut from behind. The reality of it reminds me of the movie, The Terminal, where an immigrant from a country that has recently lost its government, and therefore authority as a nation, finds himself unable to enter the America, but also unable to return home. He simply lives in the airport terminal, and experiences great frustration in the waiting.

We now await answers and further leading. We are watching eagerly for those last doors to open so that we might be invited into the plans that we believe God has for us. However, I am also beginning to notice the doors behind me closing, perhaps locking. There is no going back. For us, those doors represent friendships, family, security, and comfort. Every time that I hear the “click” as the doorknob catches against the doorframe, I feel the familiar, but odd, mixture of fear, sadness, and excitement threaten to overtake me. Tears come in private, sometimes never quite making it past the edge of my eye, but longing for the freedom to roll down my cheek unhindered.

Earlier tonight, I was thinking about biblical examples of how God moved his followers from one place to another, by way of a rough, rarely traveled path. By that, of course, I mean one wrought with difficulty and perhaps not easy to discern where He was really leading. Immediately, I thought of Joseph. How could he have known what God was doing for his good? Scripture is clear that he did not see the big picture; God had not provided him with that information. Joseph was not there when the plans were made, long before he ever existed. But even as Joseph began to realize that things were changing and could never be the same, he somehow continued forward, as though propelled by God himself. He was literally forced out of his comfort zone. But he was faithful to God and was used for His much larger purpose as a result.

It is a difficult thing not to look back and desire what we had when life is changing so rapidly. We must long for present and future peace, clarity and purpose, rather than clinging to those we experienced in the past. Living on such memories is like driving on gas fumes—they will not sustain for long. We must rely moment by moment upon the peace that Jesus provides. Even as the doors close behind us and we await the opening of those before us. Even as the room becomes smaller, even claustrophobic, we must be at peace in the waiting.

–Genesis 37

Calm in the Storm

The monotonous rhythm of the waves lapping against the side of the boat had nearly lulled me to sleep. I had finally embraced the comfort and security of the moment. If I have learned anything in life, it is that the potential for great storms lies hidden within these calm, quiet moments of reflection. It is only a matter of time before rain begins to fall, one lonely drop at a time, soon becoming a blinding deluge. The waves begin to beat wildly against my pathetic little craft, certainly incapable of surviving the battering.

The chaos is not only around me. It is within me. My stomach churns and I regret the thought of food. I also regret the fact that I’m even in this boat in the first place. But, I realize He is there. Yes, the same Jesus who called to Peter across the stormy sea, also calls to me. “Do not be afraid.”

I desire to focus on Jesus, and not to be distracted by the turmoil around. Yet, one moment I am finding peace and purpose in Him, and the next, I am fearful that perhaps I will step out of the boat, head toward the spot where my Savior stands, and sink midway. At different times throughout the day, I find the weight of the comforts of this world tethered around my ankles, threatening to pull me down below the surface. It will be a miracle if I ever make it to Him.

But He has performed such miracles before. Reminiscent of Peter’s words, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water,” I have asked, “Lord, if this is Your plan, work out the circumstances so that we can go where You want us to go.” Much of what seemed nearly impossible only a month ago has already been secured. Of course, it was secured long before I ever knew what the options were.

The Lord of the storm is also the Lord of life and all things are under His control. We must not let our fears distract us from the goal of glorifying God or allow our eyes to linger on the massive waves which continue to swell around us. If Jesus can silence the physical weather, He can certainly quiet the emotional storm that threatens to overwhelm us.

–Matthew 14:22-33