As a church body, we all have gifts and talents to offer which lift up, enhance and exhort our family members to keep up the good faith, to keep running the race, to not grow weary or give up.
Marianne Paulus is a part of my church family. Nearly every week, she sends out these Faith and Prayer messages to encourage us. I simply love them and wanted to share them here, with you. I hope you find some little nugget in them, and I have faith that you will.
Dear Glorious Saints,
I love the story of Jesus on the boat in the middle of the storm (Luke 8). But as many times as I have read it I have never really connected it to the story after it about the man who was tormented by the legion of demons. In looking at it several things stand out to me.
First, Jesus was the one who initiated the boat trip: “One day Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.’” He did not say why, but it was not a random or capricious request; He had a reason.
Then He was not alarmed or even disturbed when the storm arose. He slept while His disciples, seasoned and experienced fishermen panicked in fear. He chided them, “Where is your faith?” Where was it? It was buried in fear, overcome by circumstances. Rather than approach Him in trust and confidence, they cried out in terror. Even so, He rebuked the storm, calmed the sea and left them in amazement as to who He was who could command the wind and the waves. Certainly this was one of His purposes in prompting the boat trip. They needed to see that He was no ordinary man.
But it seems like there was more. Upon reaching their destination they were met by the demoniac. Jesus delivered him from his tormentors and sent them into a herd of pigs that went careening down a steep bank and into the lake. And the man, restored to his right mind, begged Jesus to let him go with Him. But Jesus said this, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Luke 8:38-39)
Jesus had a purpose for this journey. Not only did He wish to reveal more about who He was, but He also wanted to deliver a tortured soul from his torment and then have him spread the word about the goodness of God and all that God did for him. It is no wonder that His plan was met with the kind of opposition that could not only capsize the boat but thwart the good He would do and the glory that would go to God.
How often has this been true in my life? He sets me off in a direction and then the storm hits. Sometime I actually do have the faith I need but other times the circumstances seem overwhelming and I cry out to Him in fear and not in faith. I am grateful for His compassion to deliver me anyway, but I long to grow in the kind of trust that has confidence even when the waves seem to be swamping the boat. How I desire to recognize quickly that He has a good plan and a purpose that goes beyond what I can see, that He desires not only to reveal more of Himself, to do good for me and others but also to bring greater glory to the Father.
Next time He invites me for a boat ride I want to be ready. How about you?
Marianne Paulus is a marriage and family educator. She offers weekly classes in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on Marriage Preparation. She also teaches at the Mid-Cities Pregnancy Center.
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