The Study With Friends community includes a team of bloggers who bless us with authentic and honest musings about how their faith informs their life, and how life informs their faith. These blogs offer insights and advice from the heart. They are experiential. For instructional insights, visit our bible study page.
Make no mistake. I love Jesus and have always been very aware of my need for a Savior. But my story is a long and bumpy one, and I have baggage that steers me back to self. In the end my problem is sufficiency on myself instead of my Savior: to have the answers, to have the plan, to have the understanding, to have the capability…the list is long for me and my self-stuff. When God took hold of my heart on this issue, He showed me the difference between submission and surrender.
“My kids are at the age now where every good thing that happens for them is bittersweet,” I lamented to a friend recently. With three young adult/older teenage children, exciting opportunities abound: college acceptances, semesters abroad, internships in another city…you get the idea. Am I excited about the wonderful opportunities my children have? Of course! Am I a proud mama? You bet! I’m certainly not wishing they were unable or unwilling to do anything but sit on the couch with the remote. As parents, we work hard to help our children grow and mature. We strive to teach them what they need to know, be, and do to be independent; children leaving the nest (hopefully a little at a time) is the end game. Yet every flight away from the nest brings them farther from their Mom, and I don’t mean just geographically.
Recently our middle son confided in Sean and me that he is not entirely sure God exists. With all that is going wrong in the world, he doesn’t really “see God”. We talked about it a bit and we explained where we see God working, namely in the healing of Sean’s father (his grandfather), along with a few other life events. Here’s the thing: my middle son, Henry, has high function autism spectrum disorder. He sees black and white. He needs tangible proof and will question you until the cows come home. He is also darn smart so there is typically some practicality to his arguments.
My latest storm was, in fact, a hurricane. While Irma was pounding Caribbean islands, I, along with every Floridian, was running around making preparations. In the midst of buying bottled water and batteries, hurricane lamps and canned food, I struggled with fear of the unknown. Would we take a direct hit? Would a tornado spin off and damage our home? Would we lose power? There was no way to know.
There was one school, the farthest one away, that kept coming up in her mind. She applied, got in, and so we visited St. Francis U. It was a beautiful spring day at home: sunny, warm, birds chirping. We drove up the turnpike for hours. We got off the turnpike and started driving into the mountains. It was getting colder. Off in the distance it looked like snow. We drove on. We got closer to the snow. We got farther away from civilization. We reached the campus…on top of a mountain…in the middle of nowhere…yikes!
Somehow the gardening gene seems to have escaped my genetic code. The most prevalent things in my flower beds are usually weeds. I have planted some lovely perennials, and sometimes they actually bloom. I can water and feed the plants, and pull weeds until my hands ache and my fingers crack, but with every rainfall the weeds are right back, taller and more abundant than the week before. They have no vision for the beauty the garden could offer. They follow no plan, but take root in the smallest sidewalk cracks and take over any tiny spot of soil they can find.
Having worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist in my past, I marveled at every birth. To think this new creature, so sophisticated and complex, could arise from two very simple cells that came together and started differentiating into a marvelous being just boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough faith in happenstance to believe this could occur purely by chance.
How can we effectively navigate the turbulent adjustments we see in our world, so that we are not consumed with fear and hopelessness? Can we come to live with a balance where we can be a part of our world but not be overwhelmed by its changes? I absolutely think we can. In fact, I believe we can live above the worry and concern to be channels of God’s peace.
The main issue is when we as Christians read a book and decide to make it our canon. The only book we should be doing that with is the Bible. No book, no author, no blog should have the power to rule your life like that. Reading the Bible and praying for God to give you discernment is the way to navigate dating, and the way to navigate life in general. There’s nothing wrong with reading books on this topic, but our ultimate authority is the Word.
Simon Peter had no hope of catching any fish but he obeyed the Master and was awestruck by what he witnessed. Upon Jesus filling the nets, Simon Peter sees who is on his boat and immediately falls to the knees of Jesus feeling unworthy, “go away from me!” If that’s not enough of a jolt to Simon, he is ashamed to be before “Jesus, the Lord!” And to top it off, he is convicted, “I am a sinful man!”