A sea of dirty diapers, runny noses, tears, tantrums, boo-boos, screams and dog vomit was my world last week. A sea I haven’t navigated full force in over 20 years. One might say, I questioned my abilities and prayed it would be like riding a bike.
My assignment- fly to Texas, care for my daughter recovering from surgery, handle the household chores, take care of a two-year-old and a four-year-old, plus three dogs AND work my full-time job remotely. How many hours are in a day again? Admittedly, there were a few days that resembled a Calgon commercial. You know the ones that flashed images of all the tasks and chaos of a crazy day with the mom crying out “Calgon take me away!” Then the commercial ends with a tranquil bubble bath being the solution.
I took no bubble baths.
Instead, I found everything I needed in the one person that understood and was more than capable of providing. Strength, energy, patience, focus, ability, and peace ALL given in the midst of this demanding sea.
God has a way of reminding us of His goodness at just the right time.
Before leaving, I happened to be reading a Bible study that was discussing the order of faith and effort.
Faith and effort -- a combination I hadn’t considered before and indeed not the importance of prioritizing the proper order!
I naturally go to effort; believing hard work, planning, order, and effort are needed to produce results. What I've failed to appreciate is when I play out this mantra first what results is pressure- pressure that leads to stress, worry, anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate.
Having the presence of Christ in the equation with faith prioritized FIRST changes the whole dynamic. Faith exercised before effort produces peace.
We see this played out in Mark 6:48, where we find Jesus’ disciples in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee during an intense storm. Wind, rain, and waves are raging all around them as they are desperately straining at the oars to try to keep the boat going in the right direction. They are terrified and inherently exhausting themselves going nowhere! That is until Jesus arrives!
“He saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn, he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.” ~Mark 6:48-51
What the Apostle John tells of this same encounter is that when Jesus enters the boat, it is immediately transported to the shore.
No more rowing- no more effort.
Moral of the story- straining forward in our own effort and rowing in a circle gets us nowhere fast. It is the presence of Christ and having faith in His abilities FIRST that gives us the peace to be able to release the oars into His hands trusting that He will steer the boat to safe shores.
So, I turned the oars of my boat over to Jesus before I left home. I trusted that no matter what waves I encountered He would tell me what efforts I needed to make or whether He would handle it entirely.
You know what? I never needed that bubble bath because God has already calmed the storm and allowed me to handle the waters of a difficult situation with peace and success.
I got everything done and was blessed in the process!
The more we believe, the more we trust, the more we can rest in peace.
Thank you, Father, that you are always present in the storms. You see us and know exactly what is needed. Help us to prioritize faith before effort so that we may claim your peace and live life as you intend. You are more than enough.
"You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them." ~ Psalm 89:9