Scripture: Luke 9:20, Matthew 16:13-20
Think of the most incredible moment of your life.
Now, if you are willing, recall the most horrific moment.
We live our lives between those points. Most of our life is a series of one mundane somewhat joyful to somewhat ‘meh’ moment lived inexorably stretching from sunrise to sunrise.
Who is Jesus in your incredible moment?
Where was he in the horrific?
Probably as important, maybe more importantly, “Who do you say He is” in the in-between?
I’ve been engaged in a Beth Moore series called “The One and Only”. I had an encounter with Jesus on page 122.
Years ago, 1983 to be exact, my commanding officer gave me a book called “Finding the will of God”. I never read it. (Do a quick Internet search on the will of God and you will find an incredible list of options which tells you something about the interest in the topic.)
At this time of life, God was pulling me back into the fold, but I had a lot of questions. I wasn’t sure about living for God. It seemed that if I could just figure out a few things that I’d be fine by myself. (“doing things by myself” is a major theme of my life, by the way). The thing is…doing things my way hadn’t worked out so well for me as I thought it might.
Marriage in 1978 to an abusive alcoholic, followed by a quick divorce. Financial failure. Followed quickly by a rash decision to join the Navy to run away from the mess. I was the picture of failure to launch in 1981. Think about what happens to a fighter jet flung off a carrier. That image might best express my life’s launch technique.
Worse, it just didn’t stop there. I was spiraling.
I met Captain Charles Piersee upon taking orders to RedCom22 Seattle, Washington. He would call me in a few weeks after my arrival and ask what I was doing on Sunday. I went to church with his family each week. I made friends. Learned to discipline myself…a bit. Settled into a routine. Thought I was getting a handle on things.
Then, my Aunt died. She is, still, the catalyst for my independence and my role model. I was stunned and confused. She just fell one day and was gone the next.
And, then my dad died. Seemingly suddenly, but even if the signs were there, I sure wasn’t prepared for it. He was my rock.
My days were numb. I’d go to work, spend the lunch hour in the dark smoking cigarettes. Leave at 4 pm and drive my car for several hours crying so hard that I’d soak my clothes by the time I got home. For weeks on end.
I remember sitting in Captain Piersee’s office at one point and asking what the heck was this all about. This life. What’s the point? I just didn’t see the point in working toward things for life to sucker punch you. We talked about living in the will of God. I was sure that I couldn’t do that. He’d ask me to…to do things. Piersee gave me that book and it sat on my shelves through several moves.
It haunted me for more than 35 years.
Then page 122. “Those who accept this invitation are called to deny themselves.” Okay, I knew that part. But this wasn’t about giving up fashion, or a career path, or becoming nun-like. Beth writes, we are “denying our right to be our own authority.” There. That. He asked me to give up the helm.
Jesus asked Peter, “Who do YOU say I am?”
Who is Christ in your life? In the horrific moments and in the ecstatic moments and all those in between, if Christ is not your authority, there is no joy, just a sense of being bounced from one wave on the stormy sea to the next. If Christ is not your Lord and Savior – even if it is God that has placed those words in your mind … (and that would mean that you are HIS, btw) … then you will never experience peace about the purpose and direction of your life.
It just turns out that God was present in all those moments of my life – all my horrific moments and the terrible decisions I made, picking me up and moving me slowly toward an understanding that this life was never mine. He crafted my life in spite of me. He skillfully used my disobedience (and the ensuant outcomes) to weave an amazing story that makes sense. One that demonstrates His order out of my chaos, His logic from my random, and His divine intervention from my deep loss. I was never in control, on my own authority. Apparently, I was the only one to not see that.
He died for me, even when I didn’t understand it, even when I wasn’t worthy and even when my actions denied His authority. He waited patiently for me to acknowledge that I have no power but His.
I yearn to be fully HIS, to lay my life as a sacrifice for this Christ, the Son of God. He is my Savior, my Grace-giving, the merciful Love of my life. He is my Teacher, my Comforter, my Joy-giver, my Smile and my Breath. I confess Jesus as my authority, and the Lord of my life.