Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I have had the chance to spend some time with family in Michigan this week and we spent a good part of our time gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan. My niece has a 1 year old little girl named Harper who loves being at the beach but has no love for sand. She is happy on the towel or sitting on the paddleboard but refuses to put her hands or feet in the sand. At one point she was sitting on the paddleboard but slipped backwards till she was sitting on the dreaded sand. Her feet were still up on the board and she had her hands up as high as she could and had a horror stricken look on her face. She kept trying to get up on the board but there was no way without putting either her hands or feet into the sand. She was going to have to go somewhere she desperately wanted to avoid - the sand - in order to get somewhere she desperately wanted to be - back on the board. She wouldn't do it and her cries eventually convinced mom to rescue her from her plight.

I thought of the disciple Peter as he was on the beach with Jesus after the resurrection.(John 21) He was struggling with the future, his failures, his own shame and in that difficult place Jesus kept trying to call him into a more difficult place - a place of confession and dependence and service and the unknown- he didn't want to go there! Jesus kept calling and in the end we see Peter following Jesus.

Peter on the beach, little Harper in the sand - it is picture of me. My own shortcomings, habits, patterns, failures - or just life - lands me in a hard place- a place I don't want to be and the Spirit comes along and says that the way out is down further into difficulty - the step to freedom first requires going to a more difficult spot - and I don't want to do that! Then - sometimes because of trust and sometimes because I have no choice - I go there - fearful - and my hands and feet get "covered in sand" and I look and find Jesus there - waiting, ready to heal, ready to restore, full of life - completely present in that place I did not want to go. Like Peter on the beach - a breakfast and a Savior is waiting with love and life!

I have found that in times of trouble God sometimes just picks me up and rescues me from it all - much like Harper's mom did - but sometimes the rescue is a step further - as Cameron's song - "a step into fear" ... but Jesus always meets us there and that place actually becomes a place of peace.