Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Epiphany

 

      Sunrise    And he said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26 AKJV                          

 There are days I feel like a flutterer. I flicker to the latest great idea until another one blows in on the wind. I dart from one idea to another, but I don’t, I can’t, seem to settle anywhere. Oh, that job sounds okay. Maybe I should be working. Take more classes? Teach? How about an MFA, Master of Fine Arts in writing.

 How about this? What about that? I’m making it up as I go along waiting for something to break through the uncertainty so I’ll finally know what I should be doing. I wonder if I’m the doubter mentioned in James 1 who is like a wave in the sea blown and tossed about by the wind.

But it’s not doubt that raises my angst levels and sends me flitting. It’s the not knowing. Merriam-Webster defines “know” as – to be aware of the truth or factuality of:  be convinced or certain of.

The disciples, four of whom where professional fishermen, were in a boat when a storm came up on the Sea of Galilee. The small lake is known for its sudden, severe storms due to its low-lying position in the Great Rift Valley. The men were distracted by the strong wind and violent waves crashing into the boat. It must have been quite a storm to upset men who make their living on the lake.

Jesus, asleep in the back of the boat, was awakened with frightened cries for help. “Master, save us! We’re going down!” The Creator was in the boat with them but they didn’t recognize him for who he was. They didn’t know him.

My heart’s cry is to recognize him for who he is, to be still in his presence and saturated in his peace. I asked him to do a work in me that would erase doubts and help me avoid distractions so that I know that I know – him and his direction. I prayed that the other day. I poured out my heart to Jesus in my journal. Surely, I wrote him, there is a way to really know. I spend a lot of energy wondering and trying to hear you, I reminded him.

There were no immediate lightning bolts of understanding. No neon lights blinking in the sky. Prayers are planted and I try my best not to dig them up. Sometimes I’m successful. Life continued.

Over time, a scene from high school worked its way to the surface. It was me handing my English teacher a short story. I want to be a writer I told her. I want to be a writer.

Then college – I chose to submit the short story instead of doing the research paper. It was a risk since I knew I would earn an A for the paper.

More memories: the novel I started when my children were finally all in school, the plays and skits and stories that burst forth after I emerged from the dark tunnel of depression due to financial and family issues, the writing night after night of my first complete novel, the Dave Barry-esque essays, all the devotions, the course papers Regent University asked to keep on file to show people the quality of writing at the university, the Master level fiction course I was allowed to take without a Bachelors…

Oh you of little faith. Why do you let the wind and the waves distract you?

Aha!


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Jehovah Sofar – The Lord God the Writer

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. (Isaiah 30:8 NIV)

This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.” (Jerimiah 30:2 NIV)

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5 NIV)

God is the greatest writer I know. He authored 66 books written by 40 people over 1500 years centered on one theme – the rescue of mankind.

People read the Bible like it’s a flat one-dimensional document. So boring! I read it like a newspaper describing current events. Or better yet like a script. It pops!

God gets foreshadowing. After Judas left to betray Jesus, John 13:30 says, “And it was night”. Dun, dun, dun-dun. The lights dim, the music changes, and we know something bad is coming for our hero.

How about when Jesus yelled, “Lazarus, come out!” Do we just read the words like Charlie Brown’s adults speak? Blah, blah Lazarus come out oh blah, blah, blah. If I staged this scene, I’d heighten the tension to the breaking point, direct Jesus to pause long enough for the audience to wonder what he’s going to do, and then have him shout the life giving words.

Conflict. Every story in the Bible has someone trying to do right and someone else trying to thwart him. It starts in the Garden when the snake tosses a wrench into peaceful Eden. “Psst. Hey. Eve,” he whispers. “Come here a minute. There’s something God doesn’t want you to know.” It continues through the Old Testament to the New Testament when Simon Iscariot accepts thirty coins to betray Jesus. Like a Mafia don, he seals Jesus’ fate with a kiss. (Was it a dark, stormy night that night in the Garden of Gethsemane? We know it was cold because later on Peter warmed his hands by a fire.)

Plot twists. God knows plot twists better than any soap opera writer. He understands the human condition with all its weaknesses.

Joseph bar Jacob or Joseph Jacob’s son. He’s the protagonist of one of the most interesting sagas of all time. The story of his life should be a mini-series. Our hero was a brat, a pain in his brothers’ behinds. They, grown men every one of them, hated him so much they wanted to kill him so they tossed him into a pit. What happened next? With their little brother pleading for mercy from the depths of a deep hole in the ground, they ate. Yep. They sat around the campfire and had lunch. Oblivious to his terror and pain.

Opportunity arose in the form of a caravan. Can you see it? They’re stretched out by the fire, full of food, burping, picking their teeth, figuring out what to do next when they see a dust cloud in the distance. As it moves closer, they realize it’s a caravan.

“Hmm,” one of them says. “Maybe we don’t have to kill him.”

“Yea,” another adds. “We can…”

“Sell him.”

Now that’s a plot twist.

Jehovah Sofar, God the Writer, has written a book to us, his children. A special book so we can know him better. As we read The Book, -Bible means book- we take heart. He understands us. He gets humans with all our warts, angst, fear, and self-absorption. And he still loves us everyone. Amazing.

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