So Saturday around Maul-Hall was both relaxing and nourishing. I had a mellow frame of mind from the get-go, then the pitch-perfect day of mild temperatures, gentle breezes, and occasional light rains simply reinforced my disposition.
Bible study, light gardening, sipping coffee on the deck, strolling the garden with Rebekah, getting into a new novel, taking photographs, playing with Scout Labradoodle, serving tea in the afternoon, visiting with friends, walking the neighborhood, cooking.
It was one of those days when you pinch yourself, wondering if it’s possible for life to be any more pleasant. Then I start prepping dinner by sautéing a little garlic in the iron skillet, and Rebekah walks in the front door saying, “something smells amazing!” and I realize that – when it comes to pleasant – the sky’s the limit.
And as the sun settles itself carefully behind the tall pines I make another cup of tea and open the scriptures again, getting ready to lead my adult-ed class Sunday morning; and I read the story of Jesus calming the seas when his followers were beside themselves with fear, “And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23-27).
It makes me wonder how it is that we go to church, and we sing hymns, and we read the scriptures and then – just like the disciples – we fail to trust God, and we end up holding on the the side of the boat for dear life when, instead, we should be standing tall, the wind and the ocean spray in our faces, believing that we follow a Savior who will carry us through!
I believe we often misunderstand what it means to follow Jesus. We think that God should make our lives more comfortable, or steer us around the trouble, or step in and calm the seas when the ride gets too rough. But I don’t think it’s necessarily any one of those. I think Jesus intends for us to stand up in the middle of the boat and ride out the storm with him; not to make things easier, but to make them more wonderful.
I think the principle is in effect regardless of calm or storm. The point is to stand with Jesus, to rest with Jesus, to enjoy a day like today with Jesus, and to understand that we are never alone, that we never need to let anxiety gain the upper hand, and that our trust is more powerful than any reason we might have to fear.
So I’ll be heading in to worship this morning, a step or two farther along the path than I was yesterday, grateful beyond words for the growing trust I have in Jesus, and the beautiful journey that is this life.
(images from a good day:)