Sunday, February 22, 2009
For now the rains poured, winds raged on, waves buffeting the ship to and fro, the cargo already tossed overboard, the ship reinforced with ropes, the future looked bleak.
There was little chance of survival. Yet, in the midst of this raging storm, God spoke a promise.
Paul, a prisoner aboard this ship headed for trial before Caesar, heard the whispered promise. He not only heard, but Believed. It took courage, for he knew that as a child and servant of the King, the promises of God stand. God had said that though the wind, rain, and waves continue in their violent course, though the ship be destroyed, all aboard their ship would survive.
As Paul confidently and faithfully proclaimed the whispered promise amidst his fellow travelers, it was as though nature begged to differ. The winds blew harder, the waves crashed with terror, and the ship began to creak and break under the pressure. Fear had set in. The sailors frantically heaving anchors and trying to stay afloat caught sight of the lifeboats.
Lifeboats. Freedom. Safety. Salvation amidst chaos and uncertainty.
Plan B in case God failed to show up.
Yes, they had all heard the whisper of hope in the storm, but just in case.
After all, circumstances now contradicted the promise.
Paul knew better. He knew the One in whom he had put his trust. He knew that God would do exactly what He had promised. Reaching out in faith he stood firm. Demanding that the sailors stay aboard.
With one clip the ropes were cut as the lifeboats fell deep into the raging sea. No Plan B. It was time for God to show up. It was time for the whispers in the storm to become reality. As the storm carried on its attack, the night seemed endless. Then, with a thin line of hope piercing through the darkness, morning dawned. Land appeared, the ship run aground in its fragile frame, and the men swam to shore.
All had survived without a scratch.
Though I have never set sail, I have found myself amidst storms of life. Not just any storms but storms of circumstances that seem to target and undermine the promises of God for me. I have ached to hear the promises shouted from Heaven, written on the wall, appearing in the fire. As the storms have raged on, I repeatedly hear the faintest whisper. Whispers of hope, of direction, of my heart's desires.
All I see contradicts what I have heard. I catch sight of a lifeboat...a way for me to rescue myself, accomplish the things I long for, that I've asked God for. Then I see the gaze of the Promiser. He requires no Plan B. He doesn't waste His time whispering to me. He means what He has said. With one willful decision I cut ties to any lifeboats. I will, like Paul, believe.
In some areas of life I have seen the promises of God become reality. For all the other whispers, it is time for God to show up and accomplish all that He has spoken. He will. I am certain of it in my life and yours. Sever your ties to any Plan B. God is not slow in keeping His promises. He is faithful and His Word stands true.
Friday, February 13, 2009
There is no place like home,
there is no place like home.
Even still I can see those sparkling ruby slippers click, click as these words are repeated in my mind. Home. Such a small word that can stir up such a myriad of memories to tickle the senses. Perhaps it's the smell of your mom's famous cookies baking in the oven, the sound of your family and friends laughing in the living room, the feel of your childhood comforter snuggled tight to your chin, or the faces that remind you who you were and love you how your are. Home, I truly love it.
Over the past years, I have found myself away from home more than I ever thought I would. Having always considered myself a Homebody I have been struck with how little I have been “home.” With the uncertainties of life I have been challenged to discover how I can establish, enjoy, and rest in the many homes I have inhabited. From guest rooms to living rooms to blow up mattresses to fungus-filled apartments, my many “homes” in the last year have challenged what I had previously considered my security and place of refuge. How does a Homebody turn into a humble transient with joy and delight? Here is my secret...I found it in Psalm 119:54,
“Your decrees are the theme of my song, no matter where I lodge.”
It may seem cheesy and simplistic, but for me it has been what has allowed me to walk in the security, refuge and consistency that a home should offer. My home is securely fastened to the One who travels with me, Jesus Christ. I find His very words become like bricks to surround and form about me the protective walls of my house. His promises are my foundation which hold me steadfast. His whispers decorate the walls with comfort and joy. God is my shelter, the one who settles my spirit no matter where I lodge. His very decrees are the theme-song (I've always wanted one of those) for my life whether in Bend, OR or Botswana, Africa.
I love Him and am only at home in His presence.
I find it a profound mystery that God could take a homebody from Beaverton, OR and cause me to travel the world...setting up home here and there. God has shown me that my home is first in Him and then in those people who He surrounds me with. From Portland to Bend to Botswana. I am richly blessed to have homes filled with people I love that I can always return to. The homesick ache I often feel to be this place or that with people I miss, reminds me too that this world is not our home. When all this passes away, God and His Word will still remain. On that day, my home will still be standing.