Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lenten Series #21: No Place I Rather Be

Today the song “Falling in Love with Jesus” came on the radio. It was perfect! It was what I needed to hear at that moment and because I was looking for another song to add to our weekly prayer and praise service, I could not resist. it also fit the scripture reading we used for the day. 

The scripture we choose  happened to be the story of Jesus calling Peter to him as he stood on the water. Peter became fearful and begun to sink. Jesus then reached out his hand and pulled Peter up. Many times when we hear this passage, we often head right for the fact that Peter had little faith. That’s what Jesus said right? “You of little faith” . But let us be honest with ourselves... How many times have we been Peter, having little faith, and needed Jesus' hand of love and mercy to reach down and pull us up from sinking?  How often did we say God I trust you and then find ourselves looking for alternatives or saying "never mind, not today."

The second verse of the song “Falling in Love with Jesus, which was written by Jonathan Butler (I believe), simply says… 

“In His arms I feel protected, In His arms never disconnected. 
In His arms I feel protected. There's no place I'd rather, rather be”

Even though Peter had little faith, I believe he knew as soon as Jesus reached out his hand that he was safe and protected. And aren’t we glad that that when Jesus reaches down for us, he is in fact connecting us to God, the Almighty. I tried to look for answers in many places. i even thought at some point that i had to stop being the "church boy" cuz they don't get the ladies, or at least i wasn't! i thought about giving up on my education because no reason my mom should be struggling as much as she is. 

And then i remembered... who has never left my side even when everyone else seemed to have deserted me! I remembered who opened the doors that nobody could shut, and closed those  doors that i had no business going into. I remembered that my mother and grandmother, my aunts and uncles, my adopted parents and grandparents, my church family, my friends, my ancestors, they all  prayed prayers that kept me in "God's ark of safety" and well.. the truth is... there is no place I'd rather be!!  I am grateful that God's arms are so wide that even BigMike has a place to go when my faith is not strong enough!

Now, at first the disciples did not know it was Jesus out on the water. Peter ask, “if it’s you Lord, command me to come to you on the water.” This struck me deeply because how often we ask God for something when we are not yet ready for God’s response and for God’s movement and/or God’s command for us to go. Peter wasn’t ready! And since we know the resurrection story, even as we are in this Lenten season, we know Peter was not ready until after Christ's resurrection. There was still some pruning happening. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that there are some things I have been praying for (ie. Fixing my financial problems, being in a relationship, etc.) but clearly I know I am not yet ready for some of this, and if I am going to learn anything from our friend, Peter, I now know I got to watch what I ask God for and when I ask for it! Because if and when my faith gets just a little bit stronger, and I ask with a deep sincerity of heart, God is going to move so mightily, and I know I got to be ready. I am getting tired of hearing Jesus say “O you of little faith.” Yet he continues to reach out his arm and pull me up. I am grateful for God's strong and powerful arms that extend so wide! 

Hear the Word of the Lord:

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ Matthews 14:22-32 (NRSV)

Peace, Love, and Prosperity, 

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