Thursday, August 21, 2008

Walking On Water

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” - Matthew 14: 27

The tropical storm winds are roaring and swirling around us here in Florida as I write you today. I hear the pounding on the roof as tree limbs fall and roll to the ground. My computer continues to blink on and off. I look outside and see the scattered debris. It’s like Mother Nature’s way of cleaning house. Then She sends the rain to clean it all up and wash away that which has been pruned.

It makes me wonder if the storms of our life are not the same. If there is purpose in everything, then I can only believe that there are lessons to be learned from our own challenges we each go through. There is always good to be found in the worst of storms.

And so I think this is what Jesus means when He tells us to trust Him and take our eyes off the storm and keep them on Him. He is trying to lead us to our own truths. One of my favorite books is called “If You Want To Walk On Water You Have To Get Out Of The Boat” by John Ortberg.

It beautifully illustrates the story in the bible found in Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus has just performed another miracle by feeding the throngs of over 5,000 men, women and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He blessed the food, broke it up, looked up to heaven and told His apostles to pass the baskets around. There were 12 baskets of food left when they were done.

Now He was ready to show the apostles some miracle making power so He sent the crowds away and told the apostles to take the boat out to sea and headed to the mountain to re-up His power through prayer. Then here comes the storm! So He heads back down to show the apostles a few trade secrets. He starts by walking on water over the tossing waves to the boat in the middle of the stormy sea.

The “terrified twelve” are freaking out and hollering “it’s a ghost!” because they can’t believe their eyes. Jesus tells them to chill out by saying “Be of good cheer! It is I; don’t be afraid.” So Peter, (who Jesus coincidentally later makes ‘the rock’ of the church) rises to the occasion and wants proof asking “If it is You command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus says one word…………”COME.” Peter jumps out, starts walking then – hello! We have a miracle in action here! Peter is doing fine until he comes out of his truth (which was following his first instinct to believe with faith) and looks at the swirling storm around him. Faith turns to fear and he starts sinking and cries out for help. Jesus stretches out His hand to catch him and says “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Then they hopped into the boat and the storm left. But everyone in the boat KNEW and declared “You are the Son of God!” I can just see Jesus shaking His head thinking “when will these guys get it?”

Johnny and I have been riding out another “chemo storm” since last Friday. He felt alright until late Sunday when his taste buds starting going away and his stomach became queasy. Now he has no appetite again and very little strength because he is not eating. It is during these times that our faith can be a roller coaster ride. It is during these times that I know we must follow the example of Jesus and head to the mountain.

Then we are ready to “get out of the boat.” We realize the power of prayer and how important it is to over-ride the power of the physical body with spiritual muscle. Everyday we must pump the iron of prayer to stay strong and keep our eyes on Jesus. It is very easy to slip away and let the emotions of despair and fear and hopelessness get a stronghold on your soul. Prayer is the antidote. His word is our weapons we must fight with daily to protect ourselves and to position ourselves in a place where the boat doesn’t rock.

During our “holy healing” session today we also included some healing oils found in the bible to anoint Johnny with. Yesterday I dug out “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan Reuben and read Johnny the incredible story of his journey from sickness to health. He finally was healed by studying the bible and all the references to herbs and food and oils that God leads us to in His word.

It is amazing to realize the power of the precious oils, including those brought to the baby Jesus (like Frankincense and Myrrh.) I forgot I had some bottles of oil mixtures created by Jordan Reuben that I had bought many years ago. So I found them in the back of my closet and brought them out for Johnny. One bottle is to be used in the morning and one bottle to help you rest at night.

Last night I rubbed the evening oils in my palms and and cupped my hands around Johnny’s nose to inhale. Then I massaged his body with my fragrant palms. These oils are so strong that when you rub the feet you can taste them in your tongue within a minute.

This morning I did the same with the morning oil which stimulates your senses and energizes your body. During our prayer session the doorbell rang and our lovely neighbors, the Mayhues brought us a fresh cut basket full of fragrant flowers. The lillies, daisies, roses and gardenias filled the whole living room with a delightful scent to finish our prayer session with.

Speaking of good neighbors, it is so sweet to see the Christian spirit alive and well in the neighbors that surround us. Yesterday, the doorbell rang, and the Martins family sent a team of their children (3 out of the nine kids) to help us clear the yard of anything that might blow in the wind. Now our house and garage are filled with flower pots, patio and porch chairs and tables and angel statues as we ride out the winds.

Another neighbor the Atz family brings us goodies every week from Publix. And our next door neighbors the McCollums keep us supplied with chocolate from their Peterbrooke store.
Other neighbors push our empty garbage cans up to the house when we are late picking them up. And so many others stop and ask about Johnny and our journey when I am out walking Lucky our dog. We are so thankful to live in a neighborhood where people care about each other.

But let me also clarify that our “community” of neighbors throughout this particular journey extends far past the geographical boundaries of this neighborhood. It includes a large host of family and friends and strangers that help us out in so many ways. They help us with chores, deliver meals, invite us to dinner, send encouraging things to read and listen to, call us, visit us, email us and so many more things then I can describe here.

So even in the midst of this storm – I can see a greater purpose. I can hear God reminding us of the reasons he created us. The simple truth is so easily lost as we rush through life focusing on the wrong things and then wondering why we don’t have joy.

This morning as I prayed during our “holy healing session” I thanked God for the journey and asked Him to never let me forget the lessons of patience, surrender, faith, appreciation, love and trust that I was learning from all this. I asked Him to remember all the others who I love that are on a similar journey. I know too many people battling cancer right now.

I asked God to give us the strength to defeat the enemy so we could carry our message of light to the world together. Darkness cannot exist in the light. I remind all of you to flick on the switch if you find yourself in a dark room. The light is there waiting for each of us.

Most of all, I wish for each of you, the faith to get out of the boat and walk on water! See the hand of Jesus outstretched and waiting to catch you if you fall. He beckons to each of us to “come.” He promises us miracles if we can only learn to trust Him.

We need a LOT of faith, not just a little. Peter was a great starter but a poor finisher when he stepped out of the boat. Faith is something you have to keep pumping up. And the best way is through continued daily prayer. Let your “yes be yes” when God says “come” and “be not afraid.” If God brings you to it He will bring you through it.

As my Aunt Gerri has always reminded us “this too shall pass.” I pray that whatever storms you find yourself in the midst of will also pass soon.

Beautiful Blessings,

Rene

4 comments:

Rachel S. said...

I just read and watched the video series of "If You Want to Walk on Water" - it is amazing! I overcame some fears this summer and I will continue to remember the lessons in that story.

May God bless you all during the storm outside and the current storm you face in your life.

Love,
Rachel S.

constance54 said...

Awesome job my friend....as usual. You are so talented with you words. God has truely showed his favor to us today. Will email later. You are the bomb!! Love you

Scarlett Lillian said...

Awwww.... I love waiting to read your blog entries because it's always worth the wait! :-)

Missy R. said...

We just found out my father-in law has terminal gullbladder cancer that spread in his body. You Blog is an Inspriation to hold out prayer and hope during this difficult time! Thank you!