So help me…
(This post says some unflattering things about my Dad. So here are some really good things about him. My dad was a man of faith. He believed to his core that Jesus is who he said he is, the way, the truth and the life, that there is no way to the Father except through Him. He believed in the Bible, that it was the truth and the very word of God. He believed in prayer and in a God who hears and answers prayers. He taught me the Bible from before I can remember. He was a good man, hard working man. His coworkers loved him. My friends loved him. He was a father to a lot of “lost boys”, boys without dads or with absent dads. He took me to church, made sure I completed catechism, my mom pushed me too. My mom was the spiritual heart of our family but my dad never wavered from his faith. He had his failings, but he was a man who believed in Jesus. Got that? Okay we can proceed)
I used to work with my dad on our cars. My dad worked in auto salvage and when he saw a car that was nice mechanically but rough on the exterior he would buy it and bring it home. One such car was one of his favorites, a 67 Ford Galaxy 500. It had all the fancy LTD options, factory 8-track with 5 speakers, air conditioning, and fancy trim but it also had some damage to the left rear quarter panel and a power steering/ power brake issue that he kept trying to fix.
At this stage in my dads life, my older brother had left home and gotten married. I was the new work-light holder. My job was to shine the light into the dark cavernous engine bay and give light to whatever he was working on at the time. I would spend most of the time getting yelled at for not shining on the right part.
“(Expletive) Pete! Anticipate where I’m going, where I am moving to next!”
My dad forgot that I was not my older brother. He had spent 18 years working with my brother teaching him all he knew about cars and motors and mechanical things. He spent 0 years working with me. I didn’t know what most of the greasy parts were or what they did so I didn’t know where his hands would be moving to.
I did eventually begin to understand as I started working on my own stuff but it set up a pattern in my brain and my heart when dealing with my dad and other father figures in my life.
Fast forward to me in my 20s to now my early 60s. I became a follower of Jesus in my early 20s and as is often the case, I transferred my feelings from my dad onto my Heavenly Father. I spend a lot of time trying to anticipate where God is moving. I don’t want to get yelled at, I really do want to be “shining a light” where my Heavenly Father is working. I get anxious when I feel God maneuvering in my life and I get tied up in knots emotionally trying to figure out what He is doing, where he is going, what I should be preparing myself for.
Like my father forgetting that I am not my older brother that he taught all the automotive stuff to, I forget that my Heavenly Father is not the cranky overworked man that I grew up with. I don’t have to anticipate his next move. He will guide me and lead me as my help is needed.
My brother in law shared a devotion with my wife and I. In the devotional the writer quoted Zephaniah 3:17.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.“ NIV
My God takes great delight in me, he rejoices over me with singing. That makes me happy weepy. Regardless of everything else, my God rejoices over me. This is true of you too.
Jesus described himself in many ways, as our shepherd, as the door into the sheep holds, as the light of the world, as the way, the truth and the light. The theme seems to be that he is the guide, we are the followers.
In the book of Exodus God led his people out of Egypt and into the wilderness. He didn’t use GPS.
By day he went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
I wish we had that. The cloud and the pillar were a physical thing that was incontrovertible. What we have now is the Holy Spirit, his word the Bible and other Christians for guidance and leading. I believe ours is better but theirs was less up to interpretation.
God has told me my problem isn’t that I can’t see into the future, it’s that I have deep trust issues.
He looks onto my face, smiles and says, “Do you trust me?”
In the movies this is what the hero says right before he jumps out of a plane with no parachute taking his cohort (me) with him.
It’s what Jesus said to another guy named Peter as he walked across a storm ravaged lake, yes, walked-across- a-lake.
Jesus Walks on the Water
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. Matt.14.22-36 NIV
Jesus, what is not to love about you, what is not to trust? So help me. Help me when I get scared because I can’t see the shore or the bottom or a way out or a way forward or a way back. Help me see you Jesus. You are my light in the darkness, you my door when I am trapped, you are my healer when I am sick, you are provider always, you are my way when I am lost, you are the truth when I am confused or befuddled, in the storm, you are the captain of the waves and the wind.
So help me. I know these things to be true. So help me.