I’m not proud of this post today. And if I’m completely honest, I’ve delayed some of you who need this message from receiving it sooner, because my vanity wanted a perfectly crafted post. Because presenting a professional, polished, good-enough-to-sell post somehow makes the message more valid, as if God needed my HTML formatting, photo selection and narrative skills to make a point. For that, I am truly sorry.
A Recurring Lesson
One of the hardest lessons for me to learn, and frankly, that I have to re-learn (over, and over, and over again it seems) is to release my control of time. God is God, not me, not you. He operates on His own timetable and despite our ofttimes frenzied attempts to push, push, PUSH things faster, generally speaking, it only breeds the poisoned fruits of impatience, frustration and stress. All needlessly.
If we can only come to accept that things occur on God’s timetable, not ours, we’ll find that it’s tremendously freeing. Free to relax in His arms, free to accept that you are exactly where and when you’re supposed to be (or if you’re not, that He’ll let you know!) and free to trust that when He’s ready to move forward, you will too. In the Christian walk, He is our pillar of fire, our cloud of smoke, our ever-present help in time of need. And even though we cannot always see as clearly His reasoning and plan as we should like, He is the only one capable of keeping everything in their natural order.
I’ve been reading some more of the Gospels recently and trying to mull over the stories and picture myself in the disciples’ sandals. What was it like walking around Israel with Jesus? Was He extraordinarily tall and stood a head higher than the other disciples? Why did the disciples doubt Him so much? (Why, for that matter, do I?) I came across a curious passage I thought worth sharing, from the early moments in Jesus’ earthly ministry:
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ He told them, ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” (Mark 1:35-38, NAB).
I can understand their confusion.
Jesus had only just called Simon Peter and Andrew, and James and John to him as disciples and their first stop mentioned in the book of Mark is the town of Capernaum. Jesus landed there with a splash (so to speak) with miracle after miracle. Assuming it was day when he arrived, he first visited the synagogue and healed a demoniac. Then, Simon Peter gets word that his mother-in-law is ill and Jesus heals her and she serves them. At nightfall, they go back into the town and by now, everybody’s heard of the miracle healing of the demoniac, and certainly the neighbors have heard about Simon Peter’s mother-in-law’s sudden reversal of health. Jesus and his disciples go out to meet the people and he “cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him” (Mark 1:34).
If it were me, I would’ve been thinking, ‘Wow! What an amazing start! I can’t wait to see what He’s got in store for today…if we had crowds last night, just wait until they start talking at the watering hole this morning, there will be multitudes!’ The Bible passage doesn’t state what was going through these first disciples’ minds, but I wonder if a fraction of it couldn’t have been this earthly mindset of seeking exposure. But not Jesus. He abandoned the crowds and went off alone. He seems to do that a lot actually. He understands the necessity of time with His heavenly Father.
I’d like to think that when Simon Peter, Andrew and James and John woke up, they noticed Jesus wasn’t at the breakfast table, and after a time, finally thought to ask the womenfolk if they’d seem Him that morning. And that’s when they went running after Him to catch up. The disciples’ only concern seems to be Jesus ministering to the crowds He already spoke to yesterday, but, not Jesus. His concern is reaching as many people as possible and that means not staying in one place to build a reputation, or a platform, or a home base. It means being a nomad. It means not worrying about whether others follow you (or not) but continuing to share your message with the world regardless.
The disciples didn’t realize at first how short Jesus’ time on this earth would be, but Jesus knew. And knowing that timing, Jesus wanted to do the will of the Father. I find this encouraging. I think we need to be less worried about seeking attention for ourselves (or our message) and less stressed when nothing seems to be moving/happening, and just let go. Trust God, seek to do the will of the Father, and be ready to move.
God bless you and keep reaching higher to lay hold of all that God’s called you to.