July 5, 2011
"Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'" Matthew 14:31 (NIV)
If you could step away from one thing that is dragging you under, what would you leave behind?
Years ago, we moved into someone else's dream house. We purchased it from the bank after it had languished empty — built with great hope but then sadly abandoned. Soon, we began hearing stories about the place. There were whispers of substance abuse, violent fights, young children in foster care, a father in jail.
While I repaired damaged walls, my boys explored their new territory. One evening, they brought in a treasure they'd found outside. Holding the weathered Ziploc baggie, I studied the contents — two small clay pipes and seeds of a sort that undoubtedly shouldn't go to show-and-tell when the drug dog sweeps the school.
There are those moments when the world as it is collides with the world as you wish it were. It's hard to explain to little boys that their treasure must be disposed of in the nearest dumpster before someone gets arrested.
The lost treasure was still on their minds at bedtime.
"That's too bad about those people," my older son observed. "I'll never touch drugs. Drugs are stupid."
"It is sad," I agreed.
His brows wrinkled. "Why didn't they just quit before somebody took their house?"
"I don't know," I admitted. "Sometimes, things that aren't good for us feel good in the moment. Sometimes people don't see the damage they're doing."
My younger son turned our way. "It's like they're on a boat."
His brother responded with an eye roll. "We're talking about drugs, not fishing. Hello."
"Uh-huh," the little brother remained uncharacteristically serious. "It's a really bad boat, and it's sinking, and they won't get off — like in my Bible story, where the man was too scared of the water to walk to Jesus. It's like that, huh Mama?"
A lump rose in my throat. "You're right," I whispered, thinking about the bad boats in life — destructive habits, painful relationships, defeating self-talk, debt, lust, jealousy, a reliance on food, drink, or shopping. There are so many.
My new novel, Dandelion Summer is a story about bad boats — the sort that trap women into unhealthy choices to gain approval from men, and the sort that can pull the elderly into grief, isolation, and anger toward God. It's so easy for my characters, Norman and Epie, to see each other's bad boats, but they're blind to their own.
I see myself in both of them. So often, I find myself riding out the storm, clinging to the boat, when the truth is that Jesus is just an arm's length away. He's unperturbed by the waves, unshaken by the currents, waiting to help me conquer the storm, if only I'll focus my eyes on Him instead of the ocean.
Are you in a boat that is sinking? A relationship that is unhealthy? A habit that is destructive? Ask Jesus to help you get out of that boat and walk to Him.
Dear Lord, help me recognize the bad boats in my life, whatever they are. Help me to stop looking at the water, feeling trapped, and saying "I can't." Help me to gather the courage to reach for Your hand — to know that no matter where I am, no matter what the storm, my security isn't in the boat, but in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Jesus?
Lisa's sixteenth novel, Dandelion Summer is a story for every person who has ever felt trapped or alone and found a friend in an unlikely place. Visit She Reads and enter to win the"Dandelion Summer Kindle-n-Bling Giveaway" gift package, featuring a Kindle e-reader, a bit of bling, and an autographed copy of Dandelion Summer!
She Reads ~ where we're discovering great fiction together!
Is there a bad boat you'd like to leave behind? List steps you could take (even small ones) to move away. Consider sharing your plan with a supportive friend. Pick one item from your list and commit to it each day.
How will my life be better, how will I be more of what God wants me to be, when I've left this boat behind?
Who could I talk to about it? Who would be a prayer partner?
Does this require outside intervention? Where can I find resources?
Mark 9:23, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." (KJV)
Isaiah 43:2a, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you" (ESV)
© 2011 by Lisa Wingate. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105