Thursday, September 6, 2012

Staying On Top Of The Water...

In a Bible study last night at our church our pastor relayed a story.  His father, who was also a pastor, died about a month before mine.  Since my father was also a pastor I had an interest in Dr. Marr's story because he and I have many very similar memories.  Our fathers' deaths were even quite similar.

Dr. Marr said the only thing he really wanted from his dad's home was his old desk, a secretary type that folded out and had shelves and drawers in it.  His dad used it to work.  When he got around to going through the contents of the desk he found many old Bibles that had been worn to the point of being virtually unusable but his dad apparently didn't want to throw them away.  So he kept them in the desk.  One of them, which it seems was a favorite, had a cover made of black tape.  Dr. Marr brought that one with him.  He (Dr, Marr) also found his first Bible in his dad's desk.  He said he had no idea what had happened to it and was very pleasantly surprised to find it there.

The desk also contained a collection of wooden cigar boxes that became file cabinets for his dad's hand written sermons.  Each box was labeled with the basic topic(s) of the sermons stored within.

My first thought when Dr.  Marr relayed this story  was "How wonderful to have such physical, tangible memories of someone you loved so much."  I have the little book my dad used to perform wedding ceremonies and other special occasions and I cherish it, but compared to that desk and its contents my book is miniscule.  I still will keep that book always I would love to have even a portion of something like Mr. Marr found in that desk!

Dr. Marr brought one of the discovered sermons with him to Bible study to share with us.  It was about Jesus and Peter walking on the water and his message was about how his dad, who had never graduated from seminary, had often written his sermons by choosing Bible passages and analyzing each verse.  He wanted us to understand you don't need to be a pastor or a seminary graduate to read and understand the Bible.  The sermon, broken down to interpretation of each verse, illustrated how to do that.

One of the things Dr. Marr said struck me as important to remember.  OK, there was more than one but this particular thing was what inspired this blog.  The Bible (Matthew 14: 22-33) says that after He had fed the 5,000 Jesus immediately told his disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and He would meet them there.  The disciples did as they were told but when they got to the center of the Sea of Galilee a storm came up and they were afraid the boat would sink.  That's when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water and they were afraid of that as well.

Dr. Marr then went off topic, somewhat but not really, and said (paraphrased) "If the disciples had been paying attention to what Jesus told them they would not have feared the storm.  Jesus told them He would meet them on the other side.  They should have known from His statement that they would make it safely across because Jesus said He would meet them."

"In the same way, we Christians often worry about things in life but there is no need - because we know how it ends.  As Christians we know how the story ends so why do we worry about unimportant things?"

So simple yet so profound.  Peter said to the Lord "Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  And Jesus replied "Come."

Peter got out of the boat and began walking across the water toward Jesus.  When he was some distance from the boat he began to  pay attention to the wind and the waves and he began to sink into the water.  He cried out "Lord, save me!" and immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  "Oh, ye of little faith.  Why did you doubt?" Jesus asked. 

The point here is simple.  Like Peter, we sometimes see the things happening around us and forget to let God take care of our needs and difficulties.  And we begin sinking.  If we turn our thoughts and hearts to God and allow Him to take care of us we resurface, with His help, and everyday life cannot defeat us.  We know what happens to us at the end of the story.  There is no need to worry about everyday life if we only trust in the Lord and let Him guide us.  Our God will see us through any storm and keep us walking on top of the water.  And what could be better than that?

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