Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Waters Rising - Returning Home to God

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"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you..."
Isaiah 43:2a, ESV

My husband and I recently went out on kayaks at night with our nephew. We were not gone more than twenty minutes when we realized that rowing against the pull of the current was getting us nowhere and decided to come in. We were shocked to find that the path leading back to the house we were staying in was completely covered with water. In those few short minutes out, the tide had come in and the water rose right up to the end of the dock.  For a split second I was thinking that I'd rather just stay on the dock all night than walk through the water, but what if the water kept rising? Not a good plan! Luckily, it was not too deep to wade through, but there was something unnerving for me about walking through the water in the dark to get back to the house. I could see the house ahead, but it took a mustering of courage to walk into the dark toward it. The quick short path on the way out was not the same path on the way back. It was much harder to go back. I suppose many scary "tide coming in" stories could be inserted here. Ours was not dramatic, but it definitely got me thinking. 

For parents raising children with special needs, the path to parenting is often much easier in the planning stage than the execution stage. When we found out our daughter had multiple special needs that would require a lifetime of care, I definitely felt like the waters had risen quickly around me without me even realizing it. Only, there was no turning back. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health (of our children even ), we were, and are, committed to God and to our family. So we were committed, but I still found myself drifting away from God. It was easy to skip church because our daughter was sick, or I was too tired. I could make a million excuses, and my husband was a pastor! Reading the Bible every day became just another to-do that I couldn't do. Genuine fellowship with believers required energy I didn't think I had to spare, and prayers occasionally felt futile. But when you find yourself stranded and looking back to where you need to be, you can choose to stay there, on the dock and face an even scarier fate of rising waters, or take a step back in the right direction.

The path to God is sometimes like our midnight watery walk back to the house. You are often unsure of how you got so far away so quickly. Like the house at the end of our path, you can see God and where you want to be. But getting back there is harder than it looks. It takes courage to step off the comfort of the dock into the water. But just like we moved, one foot in front of the other, you can choose to keep moving until you're home. Remembering the words of the Lord in Isaiah, you can keep pressing on. 

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
(Isaiah 43:1-2, ESV)

If you, like I have before, find yourself apart from the Lord, take the first step home. 

Jeremiah 29:12-14 (ESV) says, 
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

Pray with me: Lord, bring me back to you. Give me the courage to put one foot in front of the other and to pursue you with my whole heart. Help me to seek you, and to stop making excuses. The waters are rising and I need to come home. 

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