Thursday, May 18, 2017

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Life

Our Daughter in the Hospital following her Wilms Tumor Diagnosis in 2005
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 
“Put out into deep water, 
and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, 
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night 
and haven’t caught anything. 
But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Luke 5: 4-6 NIV

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a conference in Redding, CA called GrowU.  One of the "top billed" speakers of the event was Chris Brown, who is one of my favorite storytellers because he has a tremendous gift for bringing scripture to life.  

On Saturday night he retold the story of Jesus choosing his first disciples.  And, when Mr. Brown re-tells this story, you suddenly realize how God chooses us today in the very same way as He chose people back in biblical times.  

When you read Luke 5, you read about some fishermen who are cleaning their nets and Jesus asks Simon to take him out in his boat so he can speak to a crowd who has gathered on the shore.  Now, fishermen fish at night, which means, if Simon was in and cleaning his nets, he had just been out fishing all night long.  

Working hard.  
He was exhausted. 
And Jesus comes along and says, "Hey, can you take me out in your boat?"

Ugh.

I'm a substitute teacher, and by the time I'm on my way home, I don't even want to stop for gas...I just want to get home.  

Stop for milk?  Nope...we'll go without.  
Stop to get the mail?  No...I'll walk out to the mailbox later and get it.  
Tammie, will you keep your classroom open and stay in there so we can have a meeting?  

Forget about it!!!  

But Simon, thankfully, "gets it."  He knows that it's JESUS asking, so he agrees to take him out in the boat.
But THEN, Jesus has the gall to go even further and say to Simon after he's finished speaking, "Take us out further in the water and drop the nets."
Simon gives him the same response I would...
"Ummm...I was fishing ALL NIGHT...and, I can tell you, ain't nuthin' goin' on out there."
Simon pauses...
"But if you say so..."
Mr. Brown then asked us, his audience, a question:  
When did God interrupt you?
My instant response was: 
When He made me the parent of a child with special needs...
That was quite the interruption to our life...no worry-free homecoming with our new baby girl (we knew she'd be blind, and possibly get cancer, and likely have intellectual delays); no routine toddler years (she actually DID have cancer, developmental delays and was legally blind); no regular "drop-offs" for play dates or sleepovers; no easy enrollments for summer camps and extra-curricular activities (not with OUR medical history and list of current medications)...EVERYTHING would be more difficult, would take longer, would require repeated attempts and baby-steps.

BUT, how we respond to these God-terruptions is very important.

What did Simon Peter do?  He responded...

"Because you say so..."

And after he catches literally more fish than he can pull into the boat, and he falls down at Jesus's feet, Jesus says:
“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5: 10-11 NIV
I think when I fell down at Jesus's feet and said, "Go away from me, Lord, I'm a weak girl with too many fears and failures..." He replied, "Don't be afraid; from now on I will be closer to you than ever before, you just need to lean on me. Just as I encourage you, YOU will encourage others." (This is the Gospel according to Tammie.)

So, I ask you the same question that Chris Brown asked me as a member of his audience...when did God interrupt you, and how did you respond?

Pray:  Heavenly Father, you have called us all to be bigger and better IN YOU than we could ever be APART from you. Help us to remember to turn to you EVERY day so we can be reassured by your presence, strength and promised victory over this world.  Amen.

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