Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TheStorm : You are Certainly God's Son!

And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

Beauty out of failure. It’s the only way I can describe it. God takes the messy, screwed up parts of our lives and somehow, some way, uses them for His glory. I’m not for a second excusing sinful behaviour. Admitting sin, acknowledging we need a Saviour and confessing that we need his help to repent from sinful behaviour breeds this concept and waters it into a beautiful bloom. Yet rejecting forgiveness and choosing to continue to live in sin, God cannot be glorified.

In this final section, we see what I like to call The Surprise of Heaven.

By way of review, Peter has just returned from the walking-on-water experiment, soaked from guilt and shame because he failed the test (in his eyes) because he didn't fix his eyes on Christ – he turned his gaze and we know the rest of the story. But take a look at what happens next: Once Jesus gets into the boat, we’re told by Matthew that the wind stopped. But did you catch the reaction of the disciples? They proclaim Jesus as God’s Son!

After all that just happened with Peter on the waves our perspective (and his) is that he was a failure; he failed to keep his gaze on Christ. So he sank. Like a rock. Like any human would who was attempting to walk on water. We often forget when reading this that it simply isn’t natural for people to walk on water. Peter knew this, but he didn't care. All he wanted to do was be with Jesus. So he dared to call out to Him. Jesus answered, and he made the first and only steps on the water that have ever been attempted and achieved. No one before or after has ever walked on water – save Jesus obviously – and for that we need to give Peter a high-five. But what the LORD teaches us next is an incredible truth that we would do well to sit up and take notice of. Through Peter’s actions (of risking failure) the disciples recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Through, what we would call a failure, the disciples meet Christ and acknowledge His place in the Trinity.

Peter sank in the sea. But Jesus caught Him. Peter, the only one who called out to Jesus from the boat, didn't have a tea-party on the waves with Jesus, but was challenged by Christ to have more faith. Peter, led back to the boat because he didn't sink his eyes into Jesus but sunk into the sea made a bridge so that Jesus, willing to lead Peter back to the boat, is magnified in the disciples’ eyes. They recognised Jesus as the Son of God.

If Peter didn't dare to walk on the waves, the disciples wouldn't have seen Christ for the first time and proclaim him as the Son of God. If Peter didn't dare to call out to Jesus, the disciples wouldn't have this incredible lesson and food for their souls that would stay them through the persecution that was to come. By Peter’s actions – by his supposed failure - the disciples were encouraged. Beauty out of Failure.

It’s one of those things I know first-hand we don’t think so much about, but if we did, I believe the LORD would be very pleased. Our role is to worship Him at all times, in all seasons, in all parts of our lives – even in the hard, stormy times. I know because the LORD convicted me of this quite recently. I have deep wounds that I need to surrender to the him on a daily basis. But every time I confess my need of Him to work through these areas of my past and present failures, I consistently hear, ‘How can you use this to glorify Me?’ I believe we are commanded to glorify the LORD in all parts of our lives, even the messy, mucky parts we dare show to people. Yet I also believe it is very, very hard to do, especially right in the midst of the pain. In fact, I remember a woman from a church I used to attend, communicate to the Small Group Bible Study that we were having, that out of all the books of the Bible, she despised the book of Job the most. On asking why, she exclaimed, ‘It’s impossible to say such words!’ She was referring to the statement that Job says, after all had been ripped from him, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

It’s the hardest thing to cultivate – this faith in the midst of the storm – because it’s simply not a human desire. We all are, I believe, at the core of our beings, selfish people. I hate to say it, but a good example of this is why we get so upset at a memorial service. We are crying because we have to learn how to live without them. We are crying for ourselves. But if we stopped to consider that maybe in our weakness, we can still glorify the LORD, I think it would go a long way to helping ourselves ‘grieve well’. Henri Nouwen describes this as being ‘wounded healers’.  

I believe, even in the storms of life, even when life just simply doesn't make sense, if we have the right perspective, God can still be honoured and glorified. Even when, especially when, it seems like God doesn't break His own silence.

Many times over I have pictured myself out on the waves. I've gazed far too many times at the waves and wind and Jesus every time immediately catches me from sinking. But I continually call out to Him from the boat. Why? Because I want to be with Him – even though He’s in a storm – He’s worth it. It’s worth it. It’s always better than being in the boat. Ever time.

So when I’m on the waves, looking away because I’m distracted with my own grief, in my willingness to show my own grief and confusion, people get curious and are close to saying themselves that Jesus is the Son of God! Incredible.

So, when it feels like God doesn't break His own silence in the midst of our storms, He still gives us a job to do. If we are willing, we can be a conduit of His Grace in so many peoples’ lives. We can be the conduit whereby people recognise the Son of God. 

This, my friends, is Amazing Grace!

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