Turquoise water, pink sand, and our tenth wedding anniversary…
Two years ago my husband and I return to our honeymoon destination. Off the clock and away from the stove, we sleep late, snorkel, and eat more seafood than should be legal. We especially love snorkeling together. We plop beach towels and snorkel gear down on a remote beach. Waves gently crash against the sand and out we go flippers and all. We swim around like crazed children in the ocean for the first time.
When the sun’s sparkle begins a colorful descent across the sky I know ~ we’ve been swimming all day. Relishing the tired-happy satisfaction that comes from hours of salt water, sun-burn, and brightly colored fish, we pop up over white caps for a break. We notice the current gently ushered us down the beach. Our eyes scan with no familiar points of reference in site. Our little makeshift cabana is a mile down the beach. We drifted away from camp and never noticed until we couldn’t find our way back.
I never intend to drift so far that I separate myself from the familiar mile markers. But drift happens in my life and not just in the ocean on a snorkeling excursion, but in my relationship with God too. It’s as inevitable as the rushing tide ~ if I don’t focus on where I am and in whom I serve I will float away from my priorities, my purpose. For me, the drift is a symptom of coming unhinged, unanchored from my convictions, my values, and my intimacy with God.
Maybe you are hugging the shoreline with confidence. But if you’re like me, maybe you wonder if a trip downstream just might just do you some good. Hebrews 2:1 warns against the drift: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” Revelation 3:2-3 tells us drifters to “Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.”
If you’ve been following Jesus for a while, you know the tide’s rise and fall can sometimes get us sidetracked from God. The undercurrent can potentially shift us away from the warmth of God and into lukewarm waters of the world. We know what the Bible says about tepid water and we don’t want to make God puke, do we?
Floods of normalcy will sweep us away from God’s best at every opportunity if we let it. When we allow ourselves to go with the flow so to speak, we drift away from the solid rock of God’s presence in our lives. We drift and think things are fine until one day we look up and we’re not where we thought we’d be. God is not the drifter, we are…He is there on the shore where he has always been and will continue to be. We are the ones who ride waves to other destinations whether deliberate or not.
Going forward on this Thursday morning I need to pay attention to where I am, where I want to go, and the direction of God’s current. I must remain tethered to Him, my first love, and be securely tied to Him alone… this will prevent my drift; this will prevent your drift too.
When you glance back toward the shoreline, where are you in relationship to where you once were with God?
I can’t believe it has been over three months since I last heard from my friend Bobbie. I can’t believe it has been six months since I cupped the faces of her children and told them Jesus loves them.
I remember the last time we met.
Her bright blue eyes full of uncertainty and hope and longing. We slurp hot chocolate fluffed with extra whip cream. We laugh and wipe away sugary mustaches suspended beneath our noses. We talk about Jesus and family and the future over IHop’s big slam breakfast. This is the last time I see her. The last time I get to minister to her. Not wanting to waste opportunities to love her like Christ, I call, I text. After much persistence she responds via text message, “Things aren’t going well, please pray.”
The children’s foster care worker doesn’t say much either. “He lost his job and they aren’t doing well,” she says hesitantly. My heart skips because I know. They may not get their kids back…ever.Maybe this is God’s plan, His journey for them… only our paths don’t cross anymore.Sometimes I remind myself to breathe deep. This journey of sharing the Gospel, entering life with people is messy and sometimes discouraging. Truth be told, in the late night hours alone with the Father, I sob until the words won’t come, “Why can’t they make it? Why can’t they experience you making the impossible, possible? Why can’t they know that to touch your robe is to live?”
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well (Matthew 9:20-22).
I see this woman so clearly. I resonate deeply with…
her raw emotion.
I see her weak yet persistent fingers strain for a graze against the fringe of his robe. I see her longing only for Him; a longing satisfied by His touch, his eyes locking with hers.
I am the woman with the issue of blood. Only I am the woman with the issue of doubt. I am the woman with the issue of sin, the issue of flesh, the issue of self-indulgence. I am a woman who wants to snap her arms shut across her chest like a rubber band to protect rawness in her heart.
The woman with the issue of blood reminds me…
The reach is worth the risk.
The strain against vulnerability for an encounter with my Savor is worth exposure.
The lunge across a crowded street for healing is meant for all people with all kinds of issues. But I notice something obvious. I can’t fold my arms and reach for my Savior all at once. Like the woman with the issue of blood I must throw normalcy to the wind, fling out expectant arms and reach, reach like crazy… for the One who says, “I am the true vine,” “I am the door,” “I am the bread of life,” I am the good shepherd.”And just like this woman I must seek Him; pursue Him; long for Him… if only to “touch the fringe of his garment.”
If you find yourself straining for Him across a crowded street, over a difficult situation, against a wall of doubt… just know my sweet sister that His robe is long and his hem is wide…wide enough for you and for me.