God has been teaching me to wait. And wait and wait. In waiting on God, the fears and emotions surface as reality kicks in, the questions and complaints are presented in sometimes a not-so-nice voice, His presence comes in heavy, He speaks, and the relationship deepens. One realizes like Job that you are small and you didn’t hang the world.
There have been times I have swum in an ocean of hurt / anger / boredom / frustration / sleepiness. To get myself free from the undertow, I must look up. I must look hard at the sky and think about the size of it, the color, the clouds. I must realize that it’s a mighty big God who takes care of me, that even His right hand is larger than the sky over where I live.
I think about Jesus sending the disciples on ahead of Him in the boat and later He came walking to them on the sea. But it wasn’t some easy stroll, it was in the middle of a storm that had risen up. His disciples, His friends with whom He walked, talked, slept, and ate with every day were having it bad. Their very lives in danger. As they struggle to keep the boat from rolling, wiping the sea spray and rain out of their eyes, probably impatient with each other and frightened to death, they look out and see a form who looks like Jesus walking on the very sea that is trying to take their last breath.
I have been a passenger on a cruise ship that was so large, the waves couldn’t push it around. I cannot imagine being a passenger in a small fishing vessel with waves rising higher than the side of the boat. The text says they were in fear for their lives. All they could see was their circumstance, their storm. Then Jesus came, and we know the rest of the story, how once He entered the boat, He spoke to the storm and the sea became as smooth as glass. They proclaimed Him the Son of God, master of the sea.
It’s great when you get your focus on the Lord. Proportionally, my problems seem to shrink and my God gets larger. The more I focus on Him, the more faith I have to believe He will come climbing into my boat, but it must be enough to just see Him walking on the sea of my problem. When my focus is on myself, whether from my own thoughts or the temptations of the enemy, all I can see are the things I wish were different. I start to sink when I need to turn my focus in waiting on God and locking my eyes onto Him. The same is true for us all.
Andrew Murray writes,
If we are to have our whole heart turned toward God, we must have it turned away from all created things, from all that occupies our time and holds our interest, whether they inspire joy or sorrow.
Everything that is not God, that excites our fears, or stirs our efforts, or awakens our hopes, or makes us glad, stands in the way of our perfect waiting on Him.
Personal introspection is important when the Holy Spirit is the leader of the process. He brings His revelation and conviction and helps us see what needs to change in us. Too much introspection is like too much pasta – you feel yourself getting larger and, like your waistline, your problems only increase in size.
Ask God for help. Read scriptures that pertain to your situation and declare that those words are meant for your life. Turn your attention on someone else who needs a hand, and at best, go take lunch for the homeless person on the corner. This reminds you that you’re not the only one with difficulty. Then be still and let God have time to speak. Made in His image, we reflect that image, but we reflect what we look at. Take some time to look at Him.
(c) Robin Lawrimore, 2010