Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Little Faith - Is Growing

If you have read my profile at the side of these posts you have read that I want this blog to be all about our Savior Jesus Christ and nothing about myself. But this post will be a bit about me for the simple fact that as I learn more about our Savior, I learn more about myself and I feel a need to add a little of that here.

First off, creating this blog was no spur of the moment decision. I do not just sit down and type whatever, whenever, with no thought as to the message I am sending. I write when I feel I have something to share. The promptings to create and maintain this blog have been an unexpected turn on a path I set out on long ago. But when I ponder about this blog, I think, "What am I doing?!" "What gives me the right or authority to do this?" "Who in the world cares what I have to say?!" and so I leave it alone for a while and then feelings and thoughts stir and swirl within me and I find myself here, once again,

Over the course of my lifetime, the Savior has been teaching me and nurturing me and molding me and helping me become who He knows I can become. He does this for each of us. I've noticed, as I'm sure we all have, that just when I think I'm getting to a point of understanding, something is put in my path to keep me stretching and growing.

Since beginning this blog and knowing that I am publicly declaring my devotion to Jesus Christ, I have felt a greater desire to keep His commandments and follow His example than ever before. I want to live what I preach. I want to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Here's the thing...I am so imperfect! The more and more I try to repent and follow our Savior, and the more I WANT to be like Him and obey Him and worship Him,  the more I recognize how "hopelessly flawed" I am. I feel like Peter. Remember this story?
The Savior had been teaching a great multitude. At the end of the day, He sent the multitude to their homes and sent His disciples to a ship to wait for Him. He then went to a mountain to pray. Now we'll pick up in Matthew 14:

24But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
 25And ain the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
 26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good acheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was aafraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little afaith, wherefore didst thou bdoubt?

Peter WALKED ON WATER!! That is no small accomplishment. That took bucketloads of faith! We concentrate on the faltering part so much we forget that Peter WALKED ON WATER!! Incredible! But then, here I go with the usual point of the story, he looked around at the scary waves and he, along with his bucket loads of faith, fell into the stormy waters.

When you read what the Savior's reaction was, it is easy to hear Him say "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" as one of us might say it, with contempt or disappointment or judgment. But I read these words today and I heard Him say them to my heart with LOVE and COMPASSION and UNDERSTANDING and FORGIVENESS..

See, I think we walk on water sometimes. Don't misunderstand me here!  I'm not trying to be blasphemous or sacrilegious or compare myself or the general public to an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. But think about it...sometimes  I feel like I have bucket loads of faith and that I could survive anything that comes my way. So I step out onto that stormy ocean and I actually stand on that water. I'm looking straight at the Savior. He's cheering me on. I feel His light and love and I'm okay. But then, I look around, my fear overcomes me and I sink into the water, along with my bucket loads of faith and I have to get back into the ship and try again.

But I am not new to this journey any longer. I've had to get back into the ship time after time after time and I've learned a thing or two about our Savior in the process...He still loves me. He will patiently stand out there on the stormy waters and invite me to step out of the ship and try again. And each time I try, I get a little closer to Him and I take a few more steps before I fall. I'm trying harder and harder to concentrate more on Him than anything else around me, no matter how scary it can all become at times.

As I look toward Him, out there on the stormy seas, He knows what is in my heart and He replies to the desires of my heart, just as He did to Peter's, "Come". He doesn't say, "Well, you can try. But it is going to be difficult and you are going to fall and get all wet. I'm a God and you are not so don't expect to be able to do what I do." He knows that we wouldn't want to step out of the safety of our ship if we didn't have the faith to do so and so He simply says, "Come" just like when a parent tells their eager-to-walk toddler to come toward them. He has complete confidence in our ability to "walk on water". It is our confidence in our own selves then that must increase because His confidence in us is perfect.

There was another time when Jesus was sleeping in a ship while His disciples were keeping watch. While He was asleep a great storm came upon the waters. His disciples were afraid and they awoke Him saying,

"Master, carest thou not that we perish?" 

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:38-39)

He cares when we are in the midst of a storm. He cares more than our minds can comprehend.
To my fearful heart, and to anyone with fears (um, all of us!), he says, "Peace, be still". I have felt that "great calm" and the more and more I turn my life over to Him, the greater that calm is and the longer it dwells within my heart.

So I wrote before that at times I feel "hopelessly flawed". What I have learned is that yes, I'm flawed...but not hopelessly. :)

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