That’s a nice story we just heard. Jesus walks along the beach, calls four fishermen, they drop everything – on the spot – and follow him. But, I gotta tell ya, I’m having a pretty tough time picturing myself in that story. I mean, do these guys even know who Jesus is? He’s not pulling out his business card – Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Savior of the World, 1-800-SAVE MAN – here, is he? How would I respond if someone – a minister, teacher, holy man – were to walk up to me as I’m climbing into an airplane with a student and say “Come with me, Hal, and I’ll teach you how to REALLY fly.” “Sure. OK, Sorry Francesco, I gotta go. No flying today.” I’m just not seeing it happen that way!
We seem to have a bit of an advantage today. We have a couple thousand years of history telling us who Jesus is – although we still don’t know what he’s looking like when he appears to us. We still have to discern whether it’s really God talking to us or not. And, if we decide it is God’s voice coming through this person, we have to trust God. My mother used to tell me “he who trusts doesn’t worry and he who worries doesn’t trust”. My wife will tell you that, all too often, I don’t do very well at trusting when it comes to money, work, and seeing the future. I worry!
So how do I reconcile this worry with the need to trust God. To the claim – and knowledge – that God is our rock and our salvation – or more to the point – is MY rock and MY salvation? It’s work. It requires effort. I have to admit that my reading and prayer life have slipped in the past couple years; I just don’t seem to find time for them as I used to. I’m not pleased with this but I haven’t managed to correct it yet, either. It’s on my “to do” list.
Meantime, I guess, I just know. I know that God loves me. I know that not everything is going to go my way. But I also know that, at the end of the day, it’s going to be alright – that God will love me and care for me somehow. I have to trust that when I turn a student loose to solo – that critical time when I climb out of the airplane and tell him (or her) to go fly it yourself – that I’ve taught him the things he needs to know to do so safely. But also that God is looking out for both of us – my judgement and my student’s – the hope and expectation that nothing disastrous is going to happen to the airplane or the weather or the student’s medical condition – in the next half hour. I have to trust myself and my student – but, most of all, I have to trust God. (And I don’t ever make that decision to climb out of the airplane for the first time without whispering a prayer for wisdom.)
I also have to remember that when I say that God is my rock and my salvation, that isn’t an assurance of wealth or health or a good time at work. It’s deeper than that – much deeper. We’re talking about the real stuff now. My spirit. My soul. Eternity. That even when wealth and health go, even when the outward appearances of this world turn ugly, the eternal, internal reality is that – somehow – God still loves me. Extravagantly. Eternally. Unconditionally.
Pray with me.
Help us, dear God, to know your presence, to trust your goodness even when the world’s signals may turn against us. Help us to trust you and to remember, deep in the core of our being, that you are our rock, our salvation, and our reality. And help us to act, as we go about our day to day business, like we know this reality. In Jesus’ name. Amen.