VERSE: “And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side…” Mark 6:45-52
OSWALD: “We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not…What we call the process, God calls the end.” (JULY 28th)
This entry has meant a lot to me – especially during the early years of ministry when I had such big dreams of doing something significant for God. Rather than blessing my husband and I with immediate success, God in His wisdom took us another route. For He knew the “selfish ambition and vain conceit” of the flesh that can so easily wind up around the call to ministry.
In our first years, I remember setting up 30 to 40 chairs for youth group, only to have 30-35 empty ones. One sad Wednesday night there were just three of us – John, myself and the pastor’s son. And he didn’t want to be there.
It was tutelage in one of the hardest lessons of life: Learning how to be “faithful in little” when everything within our humanity would prefer the opportunity to be “faithful in much.”
But this passage became intensely personal a few years ago as we said goodbye to a church we loved without knowing where we would go or what God would have us do. For a year and a half we waited for direction. Gone was the busy calendar, the full-time ministry. Gone was the title and position. We just belonged to Jesus. It was a sweet and wonderful undoing.
One morning I read the portion above and then the following words:
“[God’s] purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now … that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea.”
In my journal I wrote this response: “Oh this moves me so deeply! It is what You’ve been doing in me, God. Helping me see You in all things – both the good and the bad. I feel like a little girl jumping up and down in glee – ‘I did it!’ I want to yell. But not only that, I think I finally ‘get it!’”
“Seal this work in my heart and life,” I prayed. “Don’t let me lose this heavenly perspective. I don’t want to go back to my old way of life, fearful and frustrated, angry at injustice and desiring to control…
“Help me see you walking on the water of my situation. So clearly, Lord, that it is the most logical thing in the world to leap out of the stale safety of my reality so I can run unhindered on the water with You.”
So, my friend … Where do you need to see Jesus walking on the water in your life? What does the idea that it is the “process” God values rather than the “end” result we so often make the focus?
I’d love to hear from you…