It was a beautiful morning in Texas, my flight was not until noon and the morning was carefully scripted to accomplish much in a short period of time. No room for errors or deviation from the schedule… yeah right! After some reading and prayer, before breakfast I headed out on my walk, a brisk two-mile jaunt around the area surrounding my hotel in North Dallas. Ahh, music on my I Phone, the crisp morning air and WATER? Lots and lots of WATER? I tell ya, I didn’t even see it coming. While walking briskly down the street next to the Baylor Medical Pavillion, it happened so unbelievably fast I was stunned… and wet! One minute dry Texas air, the next cold Texas water. I always pictured in my mind black crude oil bursting forth from the ground here, you know with the Beverly Hillbillies theme playing in the background. But what erupted was the entire field to my left which rose up in a clear sparkling cascade of H20 so magnificently fast I only had time to shield my phone and run! To the delight of a number of medical students and ambulance drivers I might add. That’s just like life isn’t it? On moment you’re dry and composed, the next soaking wet and embarrassed. One minute your plans are in place, the next you’re asking the lady at the front desk where the clothes dryer is located!
In the book, “Not a Fan” (becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus) by Kyle Idleman, he addresses what he calls the Snuggie Theology. Though it sounds innocuous, it isn’t. In summary, Snuggie Theology is the approach to the Christian faith that says coming to Jesus is like wrapping yourself in a Snuggie, (if you aren’t familiar with them, they are a sort of backwards bathrobe with sleeves)—all warm and soft and where you will get all you ever wanted or dreamed. Idleman reminds his readers that if this is the expectation people have about the Christian faith, that it will be very hard for them to take seriously Jesus’ challenge: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” In connection with this, he added the advice of one of his elders who said: “What you win them with is what you win them to.” The important point he was making is a reminder of how we present the Christian faith to people forms the foundational expectations they have of it and of their responsibility to Jesus. Life is sometimes challenging, life is sometimes tough and yes life is sometimes unfair… it’s just life!
I am reminded of an episode in the life of Jesus and his followers… “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Notice with me what jumps out at us as we unpack this brief yet memorable moment with Jesus. First we see that even though they were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do they still encountered a storm. There is the line of thinking that espouses the perspective that if you are a believer in Christ you will never face a storm in your life… not so. Secondly, notice that even the disciples experienced a period of time when they thought God was asleep and didn’t care when they needed him the most. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” if you have ever felt that way know that the first Christ followers experienced the same thing! Lastly and most importantly notice that even in the storm, Jesus is right there beside them! Just as he promised, Jesus said he would never to leave our side. Storms will come and storms will go, I suppose the greatest lesson to be learned from this encounter with Jesus is to STAY IN THE BOAT!
Helen Howarth Lemmel wrote, “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Wet or dry, plans or no plans, we find here great advice for life… for living!
Throckmorton is the pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville.