DayBreaks for 8/23/17 – On Rough Water, #2

DayBreaks for 8/23/17: On Rough Water #2

Matthew 14:26-31 (ESV) – But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Why did Peter sink? Of course, we know the answer because the passage tells us. He was afraid when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind. So let’s not waste time on that question when I think there’s a better question to ask.

Why does Peter call out to Jesus? If Peter really was a man of little faith (as Jesus says), why did he call out to Jesus? In what way had Peter demonstrated a lack of faith? After all, he’d stepped out of the boat, walked on the water, and when he got in trouble, he called out to Jesus! All of those things cry out “faith!” to me, and probably to you, too. So, why would he have called out to Jesus if he didn’t have faith that Jesus could do something about his sinking situation?

On Sunday, I think I heard an answer. It wasn’t a question of whether nor not Jesus could do something. All Peter had to do was look at Jesus walking securely on the water to know that Jesus could do anything he wanted to do! I think that is was a question of whether or not Jesus would do something. It wasn’t a question of ability but of willingness. Peter wasn’t sure that Jesus would be willing to save him. Why? Not sure, but I suspect it revolved around several things: 1) Peter knew he had in some sense “failed” because he was sinking; 2) Peter wasn’t sure enough about Jesus’ love for him given not just this failure, but others that Peter and Jesus were certainly aware of.

I believe Peter had all the faith in the world about Jesus’ ability, but like us, he’s prone to doubt Jesus’ willingness after we’ve blown it yet again. After all the promises to God to never to that thing again – we do it. After all the times when we’ve thought evil thoughts, after all the times we’ve failed tests that God has sent our way…we don’t believe that Jesus loves us enough to help. And that is why Jesus says Peter is a man of little faith.

Do you see it? When we doubt that Jesus could possibly love us enough, we’re being just like Peter. We’re expressing lack of faith not in Jesus’ ability, but his willingness to save a “wretch like me”.

So what does Jesus do when Peter cried out: immediately he reached out and grabbed Peter. Will we learn from that, will we come to believe that Jesus loves us enough to reach out to us in spite of our bazillion failures? Peter came to believe it. I hope we do, too.  

PRAYER: Lord, when we are tempted to doubt that you love us enough to rescue sinking people like us, remind us of your willingness to bear the awful crucifixion for us. Whenever we begin to doubt that you could possibly still love us in spite of our failures, let us remember the lengths you went to in order to show us your endless and immeasurable love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 11/29/12 – Being Willing

DayBreaks for 11/29/12 – Being Willing

A leprous hand

Luke 5:12-13 (NLT) –  In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”   13 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Leprosy was, and is, a horrible disease.  There was and is no cure for it.  While the term leprosy was applied to numerous skin diseases, none of them were pleasant, not only because of the disease itself, but because of how the leper was treated.  People under the Jewish system were not allowed to be in contact with those who were leprous.  It was a sentence of isolation, and even though this man lived in the village, he would have been unable to touch others, or be touched.  He could speak to them, see them as they went about their daily lives: hugging, shaking hands, putting an arm around one another’s shoulder, working together, playing, but he could not participate in any of those things.  He was cut off from human contact of any physical sort.

The man’s faith had held strong, though.  He’d not given up hope, especially when Jesus came to the village.  He begged for healing, issuing a bold statement of faith.  But, he put a curious qualifier on it: if you are willing.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  After all, how can we know the mind of Christ?  How can we know his will in all circumstances?  Have we ever prayed for something that we thought was his will, only to find out that it wasn’t his will at all because he didn’t grant that request?  I have done so many, many times!

I don’t know, but I suspect that this man, though he begged for healing, was willing to accept Jesus’ mind-set and decision on this matter.  He was already a leper…what did he have to lose by asking, except perhaps a little pride if his request was denied (but he probably had little if any pride left anyway).

But the best news is Jesus’ response: I AM WILLING.  What that tells us about Jesus is wonderful: 1) He hears us; 2) He is moved by our begging (the parable about the woman who kept imploring the judge for a boon); 3) He is willing to heal and make us whole; 4) He not only is willing (who among us wouldn’t heal the suffering if we only had the power), but He has the power to heal!

I’m sure the leper was thrilled by Jesus’ three words.  I would have been.  I wonder if I would have been as accepting if Jesus said “no” to my request.  It’s hard to accept a “no” for something we really want.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: Father, many have been the times when I’ve prayed for something and instead of asking for it if it is your will, I am trying to instruct you what to do.  I’m sorry for my pride.  Please help me be willing to graciously accept your will!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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