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Friday, November 13, 2015

Faith and Physics

Today, I'd like to share something that God helped me notice recently, in my Bible reading. I hope you find it as much food for thought as I do.

Faith and Physics

God speaks to each of us differently. With me, it's often through words and ideas—His, mine, or someone else's. Math and science, not so much. The other day, though, He and I had an interesting conversation about physics and walking on water. I was reading the story of Peter going to Jesus, walking on the water.
Matthew 14:25-31
...He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him...they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus [said], “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”   (NASB)

I heard God whisper, "What's wrong with this picture?"
It was the same old story it had always been, but I sensed Him wanting me to see it through new eyes. I looked at it again and heard Him whisper again.
"How many times have you jumped in a pool? What's wrong with this picture?"
I started thinking about jumping into a pool, about how short the time is, between when you leave the land, and when you are completely immersed. That was when I saw it!
I searched physics websites, asking the question, "How long does it take a six foot tall, 200 pound man to drop six feet?" I gave Peter the benefit of the doubt, though it is highly unlikely that he was that large. You know what I discovered?

They estimate the amount of time for a 200 pound man to drop six feet would be...
  • 0.15 seconds!
  • 15/100 of a second!
Isn't that amazing? Doesn't that just make you want to wave your hands in the air, shout "Amen!" and get up and dance? It doesn't? Maybe I should explain.
The Scripture says Peter saw the wind, got afraid, and began to sink. Then he called out, "Lord, save me!" Or in another translation, "Master, help me!" But from the time Peter was standing on top of the water to the time the water closed over his head should have been 0.15 seconds! Do you know how much you can say in 0.15 seconds? I timed it with a stopwatch.

 In 0.15 seconds, the most you can say is, "Muh!"

What if it means that in spite of the wind, in spite of his fear, in spite of the fact that Jesus didn't seem to be near enough to reach him, or help him, or get there in time, Peter wasn't really sinking? The Scripture says, "...he began to sink."  His feet may have been getting wet, but it sounds like he wasn't going under! Jesus' miracle-working power was still keeping him above the waves.
And the same is true for us. No matter how bad the circumstances around us look. No matter how frightened we are. No matter how far away Jesus feels in that moment, He is there! And His resurrection power is at work in us, keeping us safe 'til the storm passes by.

How about it? A lesson on faith from a law of physics? Can I get an "Amen"?

Monday, November 02, 2015

Sanctuary of the Heart

In the LORD, who is my strength, in the LORD alone, will I place my trust. (selah)

Lately, I've been thinking about sanctuary.... I don't necessarily mean that part of a church where a group of believers gather to join in corporate worship. My thoughts are more along the lines of a refuge, a place of safety.

When I think of the meaning of that word, sanctuary, I see an image in my mind of a tiny bird, in a raging storm. Torrents of rain, howling winds, thunder and lightning, rage around the little bird as it sits, perched on a little shelf of stone, nestled into an jagged crack in the bare, stone face of a cliff. Above it, a scrap of a shrub clings to a root-hold somewhere in the depths of the fissure. A plant so small it is almost non-existent, it is still thickly foliaged enough to shelter the little inhabitant.

All my life, I have had people and places that were consistently sanctuaries for me. For years, I have been able to depend on the same people, the same places, to provide--or at least facilitate--a sense of peace and safety in my life. The past few years, however, God has asked me to open my hand and release those precious people and places into His care.

In 2013, I believed I heard God saying, "Hold tight to Me, because everything else is going to change." Then, in 2014, I believe He told me, "It's OK, I'm holding you for now." When He gave me those messages, I wasn't sure what they meant, only that both of them were sent as reassurance and encouragement.

I won't lie. There have been times that grief and longing for those places, the loneliness for those people, and the times we shared, weighs heavy on me. Like a thick, prickly wool shawl, soaked in cold water, and forcibly wrapped around my head, shoulders, and chest, the grief wraps around me--cold and damp, suffocating like heavy moisture on a humid day. If it were possible, the heaviness would squeeze the joy out of me. That's when I know where the heaviness came from, and I struggle my way out from under it. I ask my Papa to help me put on the robe of joy.

He has always been there when I call Him. He is faithful.

Never once did we ever walk alone.
Never once did you leave us on our own.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.