So this weekend. That happened.
Our nephew’s confirmation at our childhood church was this weekend, so we had family events Friday and Sunday. What I needed was given to me Friday night. I just didn’t know it. It wasn’t just in the form of connection with my wife, sister and her husband, but also a gift from my nephew. For his project, he chose the passage from Matthew when Jesus walks on water, that was my gift.
Matthew 14:25-33 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?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
I didn’t know I was in a storm, being battered by one of life’s many storms. At least I didn’t realize it on Friday. I walked into church Sunday, this passage was playing through my head loud and clear. That’s when I knew I was in the middle of it. I felt battered, beat down and adrift. When I’m in that place, I’m in a place of extremes and there’s no middle-ground. I realized it when they began talking about communion. I sat and wondered if I would take it. I wondered if I was worthy to accept the ultimate gift of grace, sacrifice and love. I actually decided it would be best for God for me to not partake. You of little faith.
When I’m in a place of guilt, shame, sadness, anger it’s difficult for me to feel accepted by a Father that knows me so intimately. To deny myself communion, is like denying Christ died on the cross for me. Died for my sins and for the sins of the world. But that’s where I was at, having this dialogue in church with Jesus that I felt unworthy of Him. As I type this out it seems really ridiculous, and fortunately I realized that kind of in the moment.
But for me this dialogue happens a lot. Going from one extreme to the other when I’m in that place. Doubting if I’m worthy. Doubting that I’m good enough. It doesn’t have to be that way, but I have to accept that’s how I’m wired and my relationship with Christ has always been one of me not feeling deserving. This is where it ties into my family of origin, and why to my core this will be a battle I fight to varying degrees. Because I always had to prove I was deserving, that I was good enough otherwise there was the deprivation that came along with it. Deprivation of food, of interaction, of love.
I am continually reminded that our Father is one of abundance, not deprivation. One that loves us unconditionally and holds nothing back but wants good things for us. He isn’t keeping track of rights and wrongs. There’s no great scorecard in Heaven monitoring our progress, and how we’re doing versus others. There’s me, and my personal ongoing and intimate relationship with a God who craves me and loves me in ways I can’t possibly understand. In the same way I tell my own children they’ll never know the depths of my love, adoration and joy in all times. Our Father is there for us, engaged with us in our struggles and our triumphs, in the most unrelenting storms and the calmest times. My challenge is to not put Him on the shelf for when I’m *right*, whatever that looks like. God accepts me put together or as a mess, what’s consistent is my acceptance by Him whether I reach out and take the gifts He’s handing me or not.
Exodus 34:6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
Grace and peace