Sometimes it’s the most difficult thing in the world, focusing on the harvest. It’s so easy to get mired down in the drama of everyday life, to get our feelings hurt, if things don’t go exactly as we want them to, and that’s when the temptation to scatter just any old seeds is the strongest. It’s so much easier to put others down, to puff up our chests with self-righteous indignation for an imagined slight or insult. Matthew 7:8 tells us that whatever we seek we will find, so if we are looking for indignation, we’ll find it, if we’re looking for hate, we’ll find that, too, but, by the same token, of we seek love and compassion, that’s what we find.
It’s so easy to criticize others, to hold them accountable to a standard that we ourselves haven’t the discipline or courage to live by. We are told, “Do not judge, or you, too, will be judged in the same manner that you have judged, and with the same measure that you have used,”(Matthew 7:1-2.) Yet, that doesn’t stop us from looking down on them, from judging them for not leading the exemplary lives that we ourselves are unable to lead. We are, indeed, all hypocrites, aren’t we? We feign outrage when someone else acts in precisely the manner we do. We wail and lament that we find no respect, no honor, no happiness or love, all the while forgetting those seeds we scattered so carelessly, so imprudently – what now we harvest.
Sometimes it’s remarkable to me how certain snippets of scripture in moments of synchronicity stand out in our daily lives, asking us to ponder them, to go deeper, and to consider what they can teach us. Lately Matthew 14:25-31 has had such a place in my life, and specifically verses 28-31 where Peter says to Christ, “if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water, and Jesus says, “come.”
It occurs to me that whenever we move through anxious times, through rough spots in our lives, where everything seems upside down, and we aren’t sure how it will all turn out, this is the time when we have our best opportunity for spiritual growth. It’s the time to be single-minded in our attention, having the strength of faith to keep moving forward, trusting God’s promises to us. This passage is about stepping out in confidence, leaving the safety of the boat to move across the unsettled waters with our eyes fixed on the goal, trusting that we will be held safe in the journey. It’s about letting the storms, no matter what they are, or how they present themselves in our lives, rage about us as they may, without losing our devotion, and coming into the embrace of our future selves, our new selves in Christ.
What I get out of it is this: If we trust in God, we have to trust in His promises, completely, without dropping our focus. It’s when we lose focus, letting the raging wind and churning seas fill our sight, that we fail, that doubt creeps in and we lose faith; our faith in our ability to follow, and more importantly, our faith in the fact that it’s the loving arms of Christ which supports and sustains us, which gives us a “bridge” for troubled waters, and allows us to carry on in miraculous grace.
And so to end, a prayer…
Thank you Lord for your loving care, for your wisdom and guidance. You know just what I need, and you fill my life with peace and love, each breath I take with the wonder of your graciousness. Let me know the meaning of faith with every fiber of my being, know that no matter how it appears, I am fully taken care of, and know that all of my needs are met at every moment. Amen
Update: Songs on the theme that presented themselves over and over…