Being ok with uncertainty

 

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For the past two years I have found myself unable to write, unable to gather my thoughts onto a page, unable to summarise all that God has been teaching me.

I’m really not trying to be dramatic, it’s literally felt impossible at times.

Writing has often felt quite natural to me. It’s a way of processing and recording certain moments in life. But for the past year this came to an abrupt halt. The problem was that each time I tried to sit down and write, I’d find myself stopping and starting in frustration. I had so many questions still left unanswered; that I found myself unable to come to a conclusion on almost anything. There were far too many dots to connect and pieces to put together.

The reoccurring question seemed to be ‘What does my future hold?’ and ‘God, where are you taking me?’


 

Unresolved: uncertain of what to think or do.

I found myself in a book shop one afternoon where I read the words “Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart” and I thought ‘hmm…unresolved, this is a great word to describe my life at the moment’.

At 18 years old I cried out for God to reveal himself to me and I experienced him so radically, so completely that something inside me was changed forever. For the first time in my life he felt real and his grace and love was deeper than I had ever considered or imagined. He was no longer a religion, an idea or a questionable belief that got me into heaven and away from a scary destination after death. He was close, he was near and he was SO alive to me. All at once I realised how much I needed him and wanted to seek him more than anything else.

My immediate reaction to experiencing the reality of Jesus was complete surrender and I placed my future plans into his hands.

Fast forward four years though and I was surprised to find myself at numerous cross roads in life. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going or who I was going to be with. This was pretty terrifying for me. For four years God had paved a path for me that felt so right, so natural and so easy that I never questioned whether he had a plan for me. But suddenly, the fog set in and the pressure of decision making weighed heavy on my mind as I asked him to bring clarity.

My greatest fear was to waste my life, to make a wrong decision and to choose the wrong path. There were many nights I lay awake praying, fasting and asking him to reveal his plan for my life. I questioned my heart motives, my abilities and there were many times I doubted my purpose.

It was a season marked with anxiety and constant worry towards the future as I tried to look ahead and imagine my life in the next 12 months.

And yet, it seemed like everyone repeated this one word to me…’REST’.

I hated it. I hated the word rest.

The word felt foreign to me. I couldn’t work out how to practically apply it to my situation. It felt like a useless word to use when reassuring someone. I couldn’t apply it or figure out what it would practically look like.

Do I sit and wait? Do I knock doors and see if they open? What if I pray and believe for God to show up and he doesn’t? What if God just wants me to get on with things? Does he care? What if I just live in this limbo land of the unknown forever? Will I be stuck here forever? What if I choose something that he doesn’t want me to do and I ruin his plans for the rest of my life?

What if, what if, what if.

Maybe I am just overly anxious, but maybe you’re reading this right now, walking through a similar season in life and thinking SAME (if you know much about the enneagram, you won’t be surprised that I am a type 6..lol).


 

The story of Ruth

Have you ever heard a sermon or read something that just speaks right to your heart? Last year I spent most of my weekends listening to podcasts whilst driving back and forth to my house in Belfast. One day I listened to a sermon on Ruth by Tim Keller titled ‘An Immigrant’s Courage’ that did just that.

For the past year, I have reflected on the story of Ruth. It has been a comforting reminder that in the midst of uncertainty, the God who intervened and so graciously stepped into Ruth’s life…is the God who I seek and serve.

Ruth stands in Boaz’s field as a poor, foreign widower with no means of provision or protection. She’s gleaning, a custom in Hebrew law which allowed the poor to come behind the reapers of a field and collect the fallen spears of grain. She’s picking up the leftovers and taking them back to Naomi, her mother-in-law, who also just lost her husband. It’s a pretty grim situation. I wonder did the two widowers ever feel hopeless? Lost? Anxious in the middle of uncertainty? Did they have faith that God was working in the background or did they feel like he had left them in the middle of their grief and poverty?

Hopeless: having no expectation of good or success.

The bible doesn’t give us an insight to Ruth’s prayers (but oh how I wish I could have read those!) or how she felt in the middle of her uncertainty; but we do know that she continues to go to Boaz’s field. Following behind the reapers ahead of her, she could have compared her small bag of leftover’s to the multiple bags of crops they were collecting. As they gathered a wealth of crops, she could have asked God why others are so blessed and favoured. But instead of getting bitter, asking God why or complaining, she continues to pick up the leftovers.

Everyday, she would return to Boaz’s field.

Ruth was strong, humble, obedient and in the face of uncertainty, she bowed her head and said ‘yes’ to a daily task that seemed to be going nowhere. 

As I attempted to work out God’s plan for my life- formalising, strategising, considering and wondering- Ruth taught me the power of being faithful in the present.

Little did Ruth know, she was standing in the field of God’s provision and protection.  Boaz watches Ruth and takes note of her faithfulness, and what probably felt like a hopeless situation was actually the answer to her future.  Ruth “coincidentally” finds herself in the field of the only person that could redeem her situation. Boaz was the families ‘guardian-redeemer’, a legal term used to describe a close relative who was obliged to help a relative who found themselves in difficulty or slavery. We read later on that Boaz marries Ruth and that she gives birth to a son, Obed, the Grandfather of King David.

Ruth was a poor foreign widower, yet she is weaved into the lineage of Christ and is welcomed into the family of God.

Whether Ruth knew it or not, God’s hand was at work in her life from beginning to the end. He was at work as she grieved the loss of her husband, fled her country, lived in poverty, was deemed as a social outcast, picked up leftovers and laboured in Boaz’s field from morning to night.

Because even in the most uncertain times, God is at work, whether we recognise it or not.


 

Trusting in the unknown

Ruth’s story really challenged my perspective on God as a provider and protecter. So often I face uncertainty with a ‘sleeves up’ approach, feeling alone and like I need to work it all out in one day.

But what if we lived with a heart like Ruth?

Staying obedient and humble in the everyday tasks. 

Loving those closest to us and meeting their needs as best we can.

Not comparing our blessings to others and being thankful for what we’ve got.

Going out to the field he has given us and trusting that he will meet all our needs.

 

In Psalm 77 we hear King David, Ruth’s great Grandson cry out to God:

“Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:

the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Your ways, God, are holy.

What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.

With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

The waters saw you, God,

the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.

The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.

Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.”

 

Even if we can’t see it, God is making a path, a way through the unknown.

Our obedience to him in the tasks we may see as small, mundane, ordinary and sometimes laborious are all a part of his plan for our lives.

And by the way, I still haven’t figured out God’s plan for the rest of my life. I still don’t really know where I’ll be in 10 years time. There are many questions I have that are still unanswered- I wrestle with them frequently. I still feel like I have random pieces of a jig-saw puzzle left over, with no idea where to put them. I’m still connecting the dots. I have not solved “God’s ways” as I hoped I would. I am am still figuring out what it means to “rest”. There are many unwritten and half-written entries in my journal. I still get anxious when I think about the “unknowns” of my future. Even though God has shown me my next step, there are many unknowns I have yet to face and I don’t know if there ever will be a day without them.

So yes, I am still learning to trust God everyday and I still need to remind myself to trust him in whatever “field” I find myself in.

He knows what he is doing and he knows where I am going.

Even better, like Ruth, we are being weaved into a much bigger story than we probably realise.

 

-A

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A letter to my younger, anxious self

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I wrote this sometime ago as I reflected on growing up with anxiety and low self esteem. As today is International Women’s day, I attempt to step out and bring to light something that I’m sure most of us walk through.

This letter is really a roundabout way of saying I get it.

‘Dear my soon to be anxious self,

It will all start the summer before you go to high school as your friend sigh’s and asks you ‘how come you don’t have any hips?’. You will then stare back in a muse of confusion as she explains how thirteen is the age that girls grow hips; but you’re lucky, because you don’t seem to have any. After this, you will go home and ask your mum the same question. She will then give you a wonderful speech that you will hear time and time again, about being unique, special and beautiful in your own way. But still, you will look in the mirror and ask ‘Well..what’s wrong with not having hips?’

And so, this is the beginning of you actually caring about how you look and sadly, you’ll never be satisfied.

You know that episode from the Simpsons where Homer has an angel and a devil on his shoulder? Well I guess that’s what your anxiety will feel like. Making its home on your shoulder, anxiety will often leave you feeling isolated and alone. Finding new imperfections each day, success and happiness will be found in attaining outer perfection.

At fourteen you will be told that you could do with attempting a few ‘sit-ups’ and you’ll respond with an uncertain “ok” with no idea of what a sit up actually looks like. At fifteen someone will stop you while you are in the middle of laughing to point out that one tooth which sticks out from the rest. They will then suggest that you really shouldn’t laugh like this from that point on. You will then make your poor Mother drive you around the country as you try to find a dental surgeon to fix your unruly tooth. However, this ‘mild fault’ is too small. They convince you to give up and just live with your protruding tooth. Also, please don’t go through with shaving the side of your head- you will not look like Ellie Goulding. When it finally grows back it will look like a hideous patch of grass and the combo of purple streaks you add underneath will not make it any better, you punk. At sixteen someone will comment under your Instagram photo that your nose is ‘humongous’ and refer to you as an ugly hobbit. This is absolutely hilarious to you five years later, but at the time you will have a mild hobbit complex and a hatred for your nose. At seventeen most of the conversations you have with your friends will consist of losing weight, feeling fat and wishing that you could look like someone else as you begin to try out different diet tips and gym classes together. When you are still not perfect after eating nothing but soup for 3 days you will begin to make yourself sick after eating ‘fat food’ because the guilt and frustration will be overwhelming after just one slice of lasagne.

At eighteen you’ll start to take frequent panic attacks that are extremely painful. You will dismiss these as ‘bruising of the heart muscle’ from running (I really don’t know the logic behind that one) and try to ignore it. Soon going to the gym, shopping or hanging out in large groups of people will mean that the anxious voice on your shoulder is the only one you can hear at times. Although you are surrounded by people, you’ll still feel completely alone, unlovable and unwanted; because you’re not pretty enough, skinny enough, funny enough or interesting enough. During these times you will retreat to be alone, because then the feeling of being unwanted and lonely will actually make some sense.

One of your biggest hurdles will be developing cystic acne in your first year of university. It’s a nasty, painful and humiliating experience that will make you hide under your covers some days. You’ll be given medication to control the hormone levels that induce the acne and this will include a night cream that will burn layers of your skin off your face. One night you will put way too much cream on your face wake up overdosed- but don’t worry, it’s really easily done. Your face will have swollen three times larger by this stage, with blotchy red patches splattered across it. This pain will be so unbearable that it may just feel like a blow torch is on your face. Looking in the mirror you’ll start to cry, and it’s that really ugly cry where you start to cough and choke and feel like you can’t breathe. The tears will only add to the pain as they roll down and sting you’re burnt, overdosed cheeks. Looking at the clock you’ll consider missing that birthday party that you where meant to go to in 2 hours time as the voice in your head is blaring now ‘are you really going to let people see you like this?’ But somehow- for some reason, out of nowhere you will sit down on your bed and begin to list all the things that you are thankful for…‘I am thankful that I have an education, that I have legs to walk, that I have eyes to see and ears to hear. That I can taste amazing food, that I have friends and family who love me and are here for me.’ This is where you say no to anxiety. You will wash your face, get dressed and drive to a trampoline gym to jump, back flip and laugh. You’ll come home smiling, because although you’re the only one who knows it- you conquered anxiety and self consciousness that day.’

Ok, so I wasn’t sure how to end this letter. I really wish that I could conclude this with a beautiful metaphor, or clever nugget of wisdom. But as I remember walking through constant anxiety, I think the one thing that I would have really appreciated hearing was another person saying ‘Me too, I get it’.  And for those who are reading this and feeling like they are forever less than or not enough, I would say that I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and dislike everything you see. I know what it’s like to constantly ask ‘why am I not perfect enough?’. I get it, I really do get it and I’d like to share with you what has set me free. 

‘…I once heard that in life, change is less about the 360 degree turns and more about the 1 degree impacts that slowly shape us each day. Your anxiety will be reduced in this way- in one degree shifts. Your panic attacks and self consciousness will subdue the more you realise that beauty cannot bring joy to a heart filled with sorrow. It has no power to heal a sick body. It cannot give hope to a hopeless soul. And as you comfort friends who have just lost family members, hold children who orphans and wash the feet of young girls who have been abused, you will come to realise the short-lived effects of a perfect appearance and the bleakness in your pursuit for perfection.  You will begin to accept that lasting happiness is found in the memories you make and experiences you have with others as you in some small way add to their happiness in life too. You will learn how to be less hard on yourself and you will embrace the art of being gentle to all, even to yourself.

You will also find complete security in realising that your life here on earth is like the flowers in the fields, you will be here one day and gone the next. One day you will pass as they do and when you do, you will close your eyes to the things of this earth and open them again with your Father in a world of glory. You will finally see what true beauty is in all it’s perfection- the glory of Christ who is seated on the great white throne. This is truly the only thing that will actually sustain and satisfy you.’

Happy International Women’s day, may we all learn the art of being gentle with one another and even ourselves.

-A

When God’s people live in unity

 

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I love my university house. I love the 16 crazy people who live there. I love coming home and always having someone to talk to. I love sitting around the dinner table and hearing about their days. I love that each week they pray for me and my worries. I love that the laughter in our house never ceases. I love that I never have to wait for the shower or the toilet for too long, despite there being just two toilets and three showers. I love that we are all extremely different and diverse, yet we all share the same hope. I love hearing others react to the fact that I live with 16 people and generally gasp ‘HOW DOES THIS WORK?’ and I have no explanation because somehow it just does.

‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!’ Psalm 133:1

While I found this verse so encouraging, I was also confused and challenged as I read it as I am so aware of how many churches have been divided over the years and how many Christian relationships are completely broken. However, whilst reading a devotion by John Piper on 1 Peter 3:8: ‘Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind’, I started to understand (perhaps) the dynamics of our household and the reasoning for why it just works.

Humility produces unity:

Naturally, none of us have hearts and minds stated in 1 Peter. The only way we will ever obey this command, is by first and foremost totally surrendering to Jesus. When we read scripture and draw closer to God each day in relationship with him, we begin to transform into the likeness of Jesus. Our sinful nature, by the grace of God, decreases as we abide in Him and begin to bear fruit that only stems from His ultimate goodness.

He increases while we decrease. We are satisfied in Him and He is glorified through us.
Becoming like Jesus means becoming humble as He was and is the very nature of a servant. He is the humble king who came into this world to serve sinners like you and I. When we are humble, we begin to place other’s needs and desires before our own. This means that we are no longer selfish, proud, bitter or overcome with concerns about our own well being. Instead, we are focused on how we can love, support and encourage those around us. When issues arise we admit our faults, rather than focusing on the faults of others. We look for ways to build relationships up, rather than tearing them down.

Perhaps then, as John Piper explains: humility is the root of unity, and unity is humilities fruit.  Therefore, when a group of individuals come together with hearts that are surrendered to Jesus and His ways, there is finally unity among the Brothers and Sisters in Christ. But first, we must surrender to His will. This is why I love my house, I am surrounded by those who are surrendered to Jesus and therefore, they are humble in heart, gentle and they sacrificially love those around them.

May we draw closer to Christ and in doing so, draw closer to those around us as we turn from our inward state and embrace sacrificial love and unity with others.

-A
#Biglovefor22

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House 22

‘I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’
Ephesians 4:1-3

For the broken

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I used to think of Jesus as someone I would have to clean myself up for. I didn’t feel good enough to be called a Christian because I associated being a Christian with being perfect. And I definitely was not perfect. I was flawed, I was selfish and I was filled with insecurities, doubts and fears. The bar was set far too high and I would never be able to reach it.

But the truth is that none of us are perfect, we are all flawed and we have all sinned against God. Jesus is the only One who is perfect, who is righteous and acceptable before God. The only way we will ever meet God’s standard of approval is by coming to Jesus, just as we are.

When we take a moment to acknowledge some of the imperfect people from the bible who followed God: we see David who had an affair, Paul who was a murder, Elijah who was suicidal, Rahab who was a prostitute, Noah who got drunk and Jonah who ran as far away from God as he could. And yet He called them and He used them for His glory.

Jesus doesn’t ask you to fix yourself, He just asks you to follow him. He loves you and He embraces you at your lowest and darkest times. Even in those moments where you find yourself asking ‘who would ever love me?’ He is there saying ‘..I do and I died for you’. That’s the true beauty of the gospel; that a perfect and holy God would love an imperfect, flawed person like you and me.

Again, Jesus doesn’t ask you to fix yourself. Instead, He calls you to come to Him and follow Him. It’s not always the easiest path to take, but when we follow Jesus, He promises (John 6: 25-59):

That He will never reject you
‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away’

That you will find true satisfaction and contentment in Him
‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’

That He will hold tightly to you and that you are secure because He will never give up on you
‘I shall lose none of all those he has given me’

You will be raised up to heaven with Him to eternal life when He returns for His people who love and follow Him
‘…and I will raise them up on the last day’

All He asks, is that we would come to Him and He provides us with all we need.

The bible tells us that we are saved by grace, through faith and that this is a gift from God. When someone hands us a gift, we can either receive it or reject it. Today God offers you the greatest gift of all- salvation in Jesus Christ. And when we accept this gift, because of Jesus and his perfect sacrifice, we can stand on judgement day in front of a Holy God as perfect and righteous…as a child of God.

This is what Easter is all about,  accepting, embracing and celebrating what Jesus did on the cross for all sinners. Jesus is calling us to come as we are and to follow Him.

‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.’

 

– A

 

Compelled To Forgive

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Grace over justice:

Forgiving people can be hard. I know this all too well. Growing up, I was known as the family grudge holder. When somebody hurt me intentionally or unintentionally- I demanded justice. I wanted them to understand the hurt that they had caused me and I wanted them to feel bad for what they had done. Justice was fair and justice was right.

Recently the Lord has been at serious work in my heart over this. As always, He hasn’t abruptly pushed me away from my bitterness; but instead He has gently nudged me towards his grace. He has taught me that by understanding his grace more, we are therefore compelled to extend that grace to those around us.

If God had responded to our sins by demanding justice, we would have been the ones on the cross. Instead He responded in grace by sending Jesus to the cross to suffer in our place and to give us the second chance that we never really deserved.

He cancelled all our debts, He forgave all our sins: past, present and future.

 

Luke 10: He showed compassion

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.”

During a sermon, the pastor explained ‘I cannot describe the tension between these two men enough. He was supposed to be an enemy of this man, yet when he saw the Jewish man on the side of the road he had compassion for him.

But how do we receive this compassionate heart that the Samaritan man had? I think its realising that first and foremost we are not the man who is the Good Samaritan but we are the man half dead on the side of the road. Jesus Christ is the Good Samaritan. Jesus came walking by whilst you and I were still his enemy; dead in our trespasses and sins, he picked us up and raised us to new life. Before the Father he has said ‘whatever he or she owes you I will pay it.

I can imagine that after this encounter, the man who had been saved had his life changed forever. He would have lived his life with a lot more compassion, grace and kindness- right?

I wonder how he would have reacted if he passed someone on the side of the road in a similar state to which he was found by the Samaritan man.

Would he not feel compelled to stop and show the same compassion?

Of course. 

After we encounter Jesus, our lives are changed forever. We are called to be a people who love others unconditionally and have compassion on those who wrong us. Our strength to do this does not come from our own capabilities, but through Jesus Christ alone. When we start to see the world vertically, through the eyes of Jesus, our focus is taken off what others do to us and shifts to what Jesus has done for us.

Matt Chandler explains: ‘When a person truly believes the message of the gospel that we’re saved by grace through faith, because of what Jesus Christ has done in giving himself to ransom us, when we truly believe that and we truly see and adore with our hearts that God has freely forgiven us at great cost to himself (the giving of his very own Son) it compels us to be a type of people, a type of person, who freely forgives others even if it costs us greatly.’

Simultaneously challenged and yet encouraged, I began to ask myself the question: do I really understand what Jesus has done for me?

‘Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.’ 

-A

NARNIA & JESUS?

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


ASLAN

I was having my annual ‘lie on the sofa all morning and watch movies’ kind of day a few weeks back. Naturally, I switched on the TV and went straight to Film 4 to find myself watching the Chronicles of Narnia; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I hadn’t watched it since it came out nearly 5 years back, but this time a scene stood out so clearly.


Eustace: whiny, arrogant and self-centred 

Eustace was the badly behaved cousin of the Pevensie Family. In this particular scene, he finds himself surrounded by mountains of Gold, Silver and Diamonds. He uncontrollably grabs as much as he can, imagining a life where he lives in luxury and comfort.

However, in his new found paradise of treasure and greed the boy falls asleep and awakes to find himself as a dragon. He panics as he realises he is now completely cut off from humankind and all alone, with only a large gold bracelet trapped on his foot for company.

Aslan: gracious and compassionate rescuer

Eustace awakens in a beautiful garden with the mighty lion Aslan standing before him. He looks down at himself groaning because he is still a dragon. He gets frustrated now as he sees what his self-seeking ways have done to him. He begins to claw at his rough skin as layers start to fall off his large body. He peels and peels three times, until he finally gives up seeing that his own efforts are useless- each time a layer would fall off, more skin would grow. Here, he starts to realise that he will never be able to do this alone.

Finally, the lion speaks to him sympathetically saying ‘you’ll have to let me undress you’ and Eustace surrenders, lying flat down on his back as he awaits for Aslan to peel off his tough dragon skin:

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

Jesus: Our Saviour

At this point, I sat on my sofa crying as I suddenly realised who the two characters were actually portraying. Aslan, the ‘Great Lion’ was in reality Jesus and Eustace, the ‘Selfish boy’ is actually humanity. C.S Lewis had essentially created a beautiful representation of what it is to surrender to God and allow him to undo the wrong that is within each and every person on earth. Like Eustace, we can realise how selfish and greedy we truly are as human beings, and so we try to redeem ourselves by striving to change who we are alone. We groan and promise ourselves ‘maybe I’ll…stop doing that!’ or ‘Ill… read my bible more!’ or ‘Ill…go to church more’ as if this will change us.

But it never works, does it? We never maintain our promise and we end up feeling horrible, useless and frustrated. Why? Because we’ve left Jesus out of the equation.

Grace is God seeing a world so broken and so lost; yet saying ‘I still love you, let me rescue you’.

So what was the cost of His pursuit to rescue the broken and the lost?

One man: Jesus.

Jesus died for the broken, the messed up, the lost and the unwanted. When Jesus died He connected us to Our Father in heaven by being broken, being lost and being unwanted through taking on our sin. Once we encounter Jesus and allow Him into our lives, we experience something new and completely different to anything we have ever known before. We made new. At first, like Eustace it will hurt to see who we truly are, but this is ‘only for a moment’ and then a new creation is revealed. We are made new through him.

– A

‘ Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!’

G R E A T – U N K N O W N

      “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail…”

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Lord if it’s you, call me out to the waters. We read that Peter starts walking towards Jesus, trembling but confident that he has heard the voice of His Saviour. He makes his way towards Jesus and his eyes are set on the misty figure ahead; when suddenly he pauses and shifts his eyes on the water beneath him and the storm around him. ‘WHAT AM I DOING- IM GOING TO DIE OUT HERE!’ Peter starts to panic as he falls down deeper and deeper into the ocean. He cries out ‘Lord save me!!’ and immediately Jesus is there, pulling Him up and out of the water, carrying Him towards the boat again.


Sometimes we ask God for greater faith, we sing songs like ‘Oceans’ and imagine Him calling us out to mission, to heal the sick, to evangelise and live a life out of this world for Him. But then we start to see the size of the dream, the vision is too big and we seem so small. Or maybe we do step out, but then in the middle of this crazy leap of faith, we start to question whether this was the right thing to do?

Like Peter we can sometimes step out of ‘the boat’ of security and familiarity in order to draw closer to God and serve Him. We know it’s His voice, it’s been confirmed over and over again. So we set our eyes on Him without even realising the extent of what we are doing and just like that- we’re walking on water. But sometimes we can lose focus and see the problems around us, the storms that can throw us into every corner and make us fear that what we are doing is too big and too scary.

Friends and family cut us off, finances are low, people are still starving and there is no progress being made. Suddenly, we panic and sink down into our fears until we are gasping for air over countless waves and waves of doubt and difficulties. And that’s just what it can feel like sometimes, waves that just throw themselves at you continually and you can’t catch a break. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, sickness…everything seems to be going wrong and you can feel yourself drowning.

Yet, you find the strength to call upon Jesus, your saviour.

Nearly immediately, He pulls you out of your chaos and confusion. He brings you back to safety and answers your cry for help. You can feel like a failure, like you let God down because when you were meant to be focusing on Him you sunk and lost sight in the chaos. But what really interests me is what happens right after Jesus brings Peter back to the boat. Those who had seen this WORSHIPED HIM ‘Truly you are the Son of God’ they said.

Even in Peters doubt and lack of faith, those who had witnessed this (with even greater doubts) had gained confidence in Jesus. The glory was still brought to Jesus because in Peters greatest weakness; Jesus displayed His greater strength.

For when we are weak, He is strong. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

You may feel as though you have failed God in the past or you may be preparing to step out and there is a fear of failure creeping in. Remember that even in your failure, your act of faith towards Christ can still bring him glory. Those around us will often look past our greatest failures to see His constant, greater faithfulness.

If you hear Jesus calling you out to the waters where things look shaky, know that as long as you follow his voice you can be sure that He will not let you sink. With your trust anchored in Him alone, there is no need for fear.

For He who called you out will surely bring you back in.

-A