Today's devotion comes from Mark 6:45-52 - the story of Jesus walking on the water. First, I'll share with you what Oswald Chambers points out about this passage of scripture, and then I want to share with you what really jumped out and spoke to me. And rather than me trying to explain, I'll let you read for yourself what I also read:
"... We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. WE have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not... What we call the process, God calls the end.
What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.
God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious."
I so love this word O. Chambers brings! It's exactly what I have been dealing with for much of my time here in Africa. You know, I had this dream, this vision, of what my time would be like, of what results would be produced from my time here. But God had something completely different in mind! I thought I would come here and be immediately immersed in ministry with children. I thought I would be with these beautiful little kids everyday, all the time! I was so excited to come and share Christ's love with them and give them all my attention and completely pour myself out to them. My dream wasn't a bad one. It wasn't bad at all. But God's dream for my time here so far was different.
I can see now that His goal for me so far really has been the process. And it's so cool to already look back and be able to see that that is exactly what my time here has been. Being forced to look for Jesus walking on the water, calmly through my chaos, and putting my trust in Him, realizing that He really has had a different purpose for my being in Africa.
Thank you Lord for these sweet encouraging words!
Now, for the second thing I noticed - it was a small detail in verses 51 and 52. Speaking of the disciples it says, "They were completely amazed... for... their hearts were hardened." I was blown away by this small detail! I hear of people in the Bible who's hearts are hardened, and I immediately assume "unbelievers." But these are Jesus' disciples - His closest followers! And their hearts were hardened.
Honestly, this brought so much peace to me. I think I've always thought that since I do believe and follow Jesus that surely my heart wasn't a hard one. Surely I should fully be able to experience all God has for me. But these assumptions have only left me confused when those times come that I just don't quite "get it." When I know something should rock my world to the core and it doesn't. Or even when I am completely amazed about what the Lord has done, and I shouldn't be completely amazed - He is God - I should expect this amazingness from Him because that's who He is and what He does! This is just a simple reminder to me that I should daily be on my knees asking God to break my heart of stone. I want more of Him in my life. I want to fall deeper in love with Him. I want to know Him as my closest companion - as my everything. And this can only happen when my heart of stone is completely broken and left in His hands to be put back together again His way.