An hour or so ago, I was living in the pit. Complaining. Griping. Waddling in pity and anger. Actually, it was over circumstances that I feel powerless over, and anger over people who brought those circumstances to my doorstep. Huh.
God knocked a little while ago, and showed me a dusty book on my shelf in the office closet.
"Hey, remember this one? Take a peek."
Max Lucado's In the Eye of the Storm.
If you are snickering, then you have probably read it.
Jesus knows how you feel.
He speaks of Jesus knowing exactly what we feel. In one day he lost a close friend, his cousin John, he had his life threatened, his friends were extactic over their success with their ministry, and then they doubted and didn't want to try the one thing he asked them to do. He couldn't be alone to grieve because their were thousands who heard about him and they demanded his time.
I loved what Max writes:
"You are precious to him. So precious that he became like you so that you would come to him.
When you struggle, he listens. When you yearn, he responds. When you question, he hears. He has been there. Your've heard that before, but you need to hear it again.
He loves you with the love of Theresa Briones (Mother of a crippled child who punched a cruel mother in the face). He understands you with the compassion of the crippled boy. (who worked long hours to earn the money to buy the crippled puppy instead of a healthy one)
Like Theresa, he battles with hell itself to protect you.
And, like the boy, he paid the great price to take you home."
I am posting the last page I read.
" I learned a hard lesson that week. Not about fishing (he is relating a fishing story gone wrong), but about people. When those who are coalled to fish don't fish, they fight.
When energy intended to be used outside is used inside, the result is explosive. Instead of casting nets, we cast stones. Instead of extending helping hands, we point accusing fingers. Instead of being fishers of the lost, we become critics of the saved. Rather than helping the hurting, we hurt the helpers.
The result? Church Scrooges. 'Bah humbug' spirituality. Beady eyes searching for warts on others while ignoring the warts on the nose below. Crooked fingers that bypass strengths and point out weaknesses...And sadly the poor go unfed, confused go uncounseled, and the lost go unreached.
When those who are called to fish don't fish, they fight.
But note the other side of this fish tale: When those who are called to fish, fish- they flourish.
Nothing handles a case of the gripes like an afternoon service project. Nothing restores perspective better than a visit to a hospital ward. Nothing unites soldiers better than a common task....
Jesus knew that. When he arrived at Bethsaida, he was sorrowful, tired, and anxiouse to be alone with the disciples. No one would have blamed him had he dismissed the crowds a second time. No one would have criticized him had he waved away the people. But he didn't. Later he would. Later he would demand their departure and seek solitude.
But not before he " healed their sick" and taught them "many things". Self was forgotten. Others were served and stress was relieved.
Make note of that. the next time the challenges "outside" tempt you to shut the door and stay inside, stay long enough to get warm. Then get out! When those who are called to fish don't fish, they fight."