stepped off the boat

Back in the beginning of 2003, I had finished my M.Div, was still working at a church, though a church that didn’t want me (you don’t have a future here, an elder said). I had a good ministry, I thought, and I was doing some creative explorations that came out of a burgeoning theology. But I could find no acceptance by those who had the power to bring more security. I could not find an audience or substantive support. I was burning out and fast. I was living in an apartment in Pasadena, a nice apartment, but one that was constantly noisy because the owner was remodeling other units to then raise the rent on all the units.

I was lost. I had no words of hope of my own. I did not know where to turn or who to turn to. But I still tried to pray, to hear from God what I was supposed to do.

On January 15, 2003 I was sitting on the small back porch of this apartment, and I wrote the following in my journal. It came to mind again today, so I’m posting it here:

We walk in a world not our own, possessing yet holding loosely, letting go all that binds, all that hinders the goal. We are the redeemers of time – what is fateful becomes fruitful, what is a fear and foe becomes a tool, a force, a power to be walked on like water.

Yet like water we sink into time, letting our faithlessness cover our heart. We sink, worried, fretful, possessive, greedy, grasping because time is drowning us in its overwhelming force. We must walk on time, above and outside, yet touching it, letting its waves be that which we place our feet upon. It is only through and by faith we become Time-Walkers – eternal beings who transcend yet are connected with this elusive dimension.

I am Peter stepped out of the boat, “Lord, Save me! Time is swallowing me!”

“Have Faith,” is the given response, “Walk forward neither looking to the right or left but at me, in my eyes. That which is lost is gained. That which is behind is yet ahead. That which is despaired is still a hope. Walk. Stand. Move. If you do not have faith, you will not stand.

“Time flows, but I am the one both in and out of time. Do not look to those trapped for assistance but to the one who has a stable hand. I am the one who brings order to disorder, disorder to order, upsetting and twisting around all things so that all things are directed towards me.”

“Lord, I am weary – I have not faith.”

“It is what you do when weary that marks a person of faith. Have faith, even though you have none. Sing and dance. Marvel at the beauty even in the smallest thing. Delight in the senses, taking in all in a fivefold way the encompassing bounty found even in this present sin-stained world. If this is stained, imagine what is possible when it is all cleansed.”

“Lord, I do not know where to walk or what to do.”

“Then stand, and keep standing, like a soldier waiting for orders. Stand and wait. Do what is before you and wait for counsel and guidance.”

“How long must I wait?”

“As long as you must.”

Life got worse. Much worse, really. I got more confused, more lost, more depressed. Then I stepped off the boat.

I’m still waiting, I think, as there’s an immense amount of questions still unanswered. Much of my life is in flux, and I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing this time next year. I don’t know the answers to so many of the standard questions of a normal life.

But, because I stepped off the boat, on this day, here in Germany, I’m walking on water. And I see Jesus.

That’s something. That’s definitely something.

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