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Saturday, June 11, 2011

“Sit here while I pray” (Mark 19:32).

Surfer Bethany Hamilton was temporarily unable to enter the ocean.  She lost an arm to a shark.  Sitting on the shore with her father, she looked at the sun setting on the horizon and saw nothing but unanswered questions.  She asked him, “What is God doing?” and “What do I do now?”  To his answer, “You do what’s next,” she asked, “How do I know what’s next?”  Her father answered as our Father answers, “Watch and pray.”

I imagine the disciples asked similar questions as they looked into the waning light at Gethsemane, not really understanding what Jesus was doing.  And what about you and me?  Are these not questions we ask in our personal “Gethsemanes”?  They are further-than-we-can-see, deeper-than-we-can-dive questions, and when God’s answers don’t seem to fit, it’s because they don’t—yet.  His “watch and pray” answer is bigger than our questions and can be for us as it was for the disciples, more than we can do.  When we don’t understand what God is doing, don’t know what to do next and can’t see far enough to know what is next, He knows; “Sit here, yes, right here in Gethsemane, while I pray,”

When we can’t watch and pray, He takes care of it.  When it’s time to get up and go with Him, His “watch and pray” answer begins to fit and we see something of what he means.  Bethany Hamilton said that He means for her to be able to reach with one arm more people for Jesus than she ever could have with two.  I really like this answer.  It reminds me of the One who reached, with both hands nailed to the cross, more people than He could have had He taken the nails out. 

Jesus suffered Gethsemane to overcome our Gethsemane sufferings.   Have you been sitting there long enough?  Then it’s time to get up and go with Jesus, know something of what He means and see His answers fit.

Author: Carolyn Roehrig

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

“…you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends” (Luke 15:29).

The story is of two sons and their father.  One son wastes his inheritance in prodigal living, the other faithfully serves his father; one is destitute, the other owns everything; one receives special treatment and rejoices, the other receives what he deems unfair treatment and balks, saying, “I have been working your fields for years, bringing increase to your household, and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.  You are not giving me what you are giving this other son of yours.”

Have we not heard it?  Give what is good for one child, and the other’s sense of fairness will rebel until it is rightly trained.  How so to train?  Most often it is done by way of reminder of the righteous justice of God.  The righteous justice of God rejoices to bring near a once far off son and to say to the other, “You are always with me.”  Like the father in this story reminded his sons, we may remind our children that their sonship has nothing to do with what they have done or have not done, but everything to do with what the Father has done, nothing to do with what they feel they have earned or deserved, but everything to do with what they have received from the Father.  Remind them of the Father’s joy to restore and reconcile His children to Himself and brothers to each other. Remind them of the “All-that-is-Mine-is-Yours” inheritance title.  Whether our children approach us in contrition or contention, remind them of the Father’s heart and of their place in it.  Don’t let them forget it.  Train them in the righteous justice of God and they will be liberated, fit to make merry and feast and be happy and dance according to the Father’s delight.

There is a celebration in the Father’s house.  Do you hear the music?  Do you see the banquet table?  Do you see the Father dance?  Come home from afar; come in from the field; come all the way in!  Come!

Author: Carolyn Roehrig