Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jan | 21 | Getting that ‘sinking’ feeling


Getting that ‘sinking’ feeling

Matthew 14:25-30
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"

Imagine reading on from verse 30 now and it saying:"Lord, save me!"
31 but the Lord said “No” and walked on by as Peter was eaten alive by the foaming waters and sucked beneath the pounding waves.
32 And when Jesus got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat just stared at Jesus and were aghast!"
34 “Well”, he said, “There’s work to do boys. Row on!”
35 So they did.
36 And eventually, all those questions they had about Peter: Why he was left to drown, what his secret sins could have been, etc and the like, were all eventually sunk deep beneath their calmer waters, along with ‘the rock’ himself, whose bloated body was now made food for all those fishes in the sea who had no money in their mouths.

Stick around long enough and you will see some very strange things in the Christian life and in the church.

The first thing you will see is that ‘two plus two does not always equal four’. The best of people make the worst of choices. The worst of people prove to be the most faithful. God goes silent, yes; the Divine departs and seems to do so at the most neediest of times.

The second thing you will see is that ‘life goes on’. People, prophets, pastors, leaders, all come and go and whether their going is good or bad: the wheels just keep on spinning, the earth just keeps on turning, people make the best of situations and life goes on. I have observed that this is always a shock to people who think they are irreplaceable.

The third thing you will see is that in our revolving days, ‘people choose to forget’. Yes, they hide hard questions and subsequently any hope of profitable answers in that cloakroom of clutter behind that closed and always locked door at the back of their memory. They keep on rowing; they get on with what is at hand.

Let us face it, may people who begin to walk on water, who think they can walk on water, sink beneath the waves and despite their cries for help are neither rescued by Christ directly nor are pulled from the waters by that great ship of faith called the church. For sure, the cry of ‘man overboard’ may occasionally go up, but more often than not, the ship sails on regardless and many are left behind to float awhile in a very cold dark and lonely, deep, vast and open sea.

So, John the baptizer loses his head at the desire of a slut. Paul possibly loses his maybe in Rome. Who knows? No end was written. Peter had an upside down cake that choked him to death and James was made to make people happy in his slaughter, Stephen hit the rocks, or rather, the rocks hit his little angel face and ten million, millions more besides with unknown names and unknown graves have crossed that same river ‘inexplicable’ into Glory land.

 It is evident to me, that many walk on water, and so they should. It is evident to me that Christ always pulls the crying and drowning man up from the waves and
into His strong and watching arms. He always does. It is evident to me that as Christ does this, then sometimes we shall rejoice to see the rescued from the waves back in the boat once more, but more often than not, we shall simply find the empty husk floating on the waters.

Speaking as an old sailor, I do wonder if we should have a few more ‘man overboard drills’? Speaking as an old curer of souls, I wonder if we should have a few more autopsies, a few more inquests and a lot more questions. I wonder if in the so doing, that this might make us a more robust crew, a happier boat a much more attractive ship of the line. I think it might. If you are getting that sinking feeling today, then it is time to shout even louder.

If you are getting that sinking feeling today, then it is time to reach ever deeper. If you are getting that sinking feeling today, maybe, just maybe it is time to look up, for lo, your salvation draweth nigh. Life goes on, but woe to the church which rows on regardless.

Listen:- I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls Took my veil away from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, That you tell him I am lovesick! Song of Solomon 5:6-8 NKJV

Pray: - Father, when the inexplicable waters surround me, draw close to me, yes, come speedily to my aid. When unjust rods rail across my back and the stones of hate beat upon my cheek, when the three great ships of my Christmas day morning break upon all the black reefs of my Mondays, when my feet cannot find the bottom of the deep, neither by the light of moon by night nor by the light of the sunshine day, be with me O my God, yes, be with me even when the welcomed warming fire bites my hand in death. O Lord my God be with me in all the cold and lonely inexplicables of my life. Amen and amen.

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