Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Thames River, London

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Ocean, Hmmmmm.....

I love to sit and watch the ocean. It’s so constant yet it changes from moment to moment. There’s always something broiling around underneath the surface, always some subtle difference from one moment to the next.

It reminds me of God in many ways.

It’s huge and goes way beyond my capability to see it. It is beautiful but can be dangerous if approached too casually or without respect and reverence for what it is. It is not a kiddie pool, there for our enjoyment and amusement but a huge body of water that can overwhelm us if we dive into it unprepared and overconfident of our capability to control it. Given the proper preparation and training, it has the ability to take us away to distant shores and amazing experiences. On our journey, we inevitably experience times of calm waters and times of raging waves, howling winds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It’s peace goes beyond understanding but it’s wrath knows no bounds.

God goes far beyond all that. He will never dry up, never betray us, never abandon us, never harm us and never take us somewhere that is dangerous. Unlike the sea, we can trust Him and depend on him. Why? Because, unlike the sea, He loves us and shelters us. Unlike the sea, when we do trust in Him and bow before Him, calling Him our Lord, we are spared from His wrath. Unlike the sea, He has prepared an eternal home for us and His goal, in our lives, is to get us there safely.

Jer 29: 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'

4 comments:

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  2. Sounds like you are relaxing well. The amazing thing is that as huge as the ocean is to us, God could dry it up in an instant. WOW!

    Be refreshed my friend!!! Let the waves of the Lord break over you.

    JB

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  3. John,
    Can you talk some more about the statement "He will ... never abandon us, never harm us and never take us somewhere that is dangerous"?

    Later in this paragraph you added "... His goal, in our lives, is to get us there safely." This would imply that you mean this to apply to our physical, earthly bodies. I had interpreted the Jer 29:11 scripture to apply to our spiritual eternal future, but the implication here is to the earthly, physical life.

    How does this reconcile with the many examples in the Bible where Godly and righteous people, those that walk and talk with the Lord, are put into physically dangerous situations and even killed (physically) because of their faith in God and belief in Jesus? One might say that God didn't put them in those situations, that it was their choice, but isn't that just quibbling over semantics? Wasn't Jacob physically harmed (injured) by God? Wasn't Jesus, the perfect and righteous man, abandoned (forsaken) by God?

    Thanks for writing about your thoughts and helping me to better understand scripture and better prepare me for being able to explain it to others.

    Jim

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  4. Let me clarify my comments. Scripture never guarantees that our physical bodies will not experience pain. As a matter of fact, suffering and persecution are part of being Christian. We are never told that life will be wonderful and everyone will like us. We are never told that we will be spared from sickness and pain. All these things, when they arise in our lives are there for the glory of God. When I mentioned that His goal is to get us there safely, I was speaking of our ultimate destination, heaven. Whatever means God chooses to use to bring us home is up to him and will be deemed worthwhile once we get there.

    God always sees us and our situations through an eternal perspective. We always look at ourselves through a temporal perspective, evaluating our condition in terms of our comfort. God will make us very uncomfortable temporally in order to strengthen us eternally. As such, we see examples of people, loved by God, who go through some pretty excruciating experiences. They are there to demostrate to us that everything we go through is for our own good (Romans 8:28) just as it was, ultimately, eternally, for thier own good. God's goal is to get us to heaven 'safely' from an eternal persepctive.

    As far as God never abandoning us, we have His promise that "...He will never leave nor forsake us..." We know this is true becaue the one thing that would cause Him to turn away from us is our sin. Our sin has been dealt with on the cross. God turned away from Jesus so that He would never have to turn away from us. We don't fully understand what happened in that dark, terrible moment when Jesus felt forsaken by the Father. We know that the Trinity was not broken but we also know that Jesus, at least from His perspective of being 'fully man' felt seperation and loneliness. We begin to undestand the full magnitude of the sacrifice that was made for us when we look a these moments on the cross. We begin to understand the wonder of His grace when we realize that He did all this to 'get us home safely' to rescue us from this world we live in and deliver us into His.

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