Since I was young, my dad and I played this game. While we were driving the many miles between Minnesota and New Mexico for summer visits, he'd reach over sort of sneaky like and poke me in the arm. So, I would poke him back. (This was long before the invention of facebook, by the way.) Then, he'd say, "Huh, pokener." "You poked me first," I'd protest. After another volley of pokes, he'd say, "Hardly fair." With one more volley of pokes, it was my turn to say, "Hardly fair." Then, the game would be over until the next time. At the time, "hardly fair" was jsut a silly part of the game. But lately, I feel like I have been saying it as a serious answer to a not-so-fun game.
Life has been a complicated mess since the beginning of the separation from my husband. I turned to God and friends. I made some serious changes to my view on things and in my relationship with God. He has helped me get over a lot of hurtles. It has been six months now. I guess I hoped things would get a little easier. Now, as I have sprinted the last 400 meters of the semester, I have found even more challenges.
I have always known that life as a Christian in general would be difficult. That is why we are extolled in Hebrews to "lay aside every encumberance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Life is not a sprint. Still, after everything that I have gone through lately, I was hoping for a break. I looked at the way things seemed to be going for my husband. I was jealous. It seemed to be breezing by for him. He left and I struggled. I found myself looking heavenward with a mistrustful glance.
In the midst of this, I went to a home church that I used to be a part of. That particular night we were going over Luke 8: 1-25. The passage covers five different teachable sections. So, we broke up into discussion groups and discussed the sections, one for each group. After numbering off, it turned out that I had verses 22-25. This section is about the disciples and Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee when a dangerous storm comes up. The disciples are freaking out. And what is Jesus doing, he's taking a nap. Incredulous, the disciples try to wake him. "Master, master, we are perishing!" Once awake, Jesus gets up and calms the storm. The literal meaning of the word used is "a calm occured," suggesting that it was an immediate happening. Then, he turns to the disciples and says, "Where is your faith?" These men had given up their jobs, families, and friends to follow this man. They had seen him do amazing things. Still, they questioned. Still, they wondered.
I started to think that it hadn't so much been chance that I had ended up going over that passage. How many times has God done things in my life? How many times has he provided? I claim to follow Him. But when the storm comes up around me, I say the same thing that the disciples did. How can you sleep when I am perishing? Where are you? But He's there and He's not worried because he has this whole thing under control. There is an element of faith that seems to slip away so easily when the storms come. I think that is probably why Paul encourages us to "work out our salvation" on a daily basis. It is not that it can be lost but that we sometimes can't see the forest for the trees.