We all know the story of how Peter walked on water with Jesus (Matt 14:22-31). This particular story has been on my mind the last couple of days. I thought about Peter and how much faith it took for him to step out of that boat onto those surging waves. I thought about what made him doubt. What made him take his eyes off of Jesus, and focus back on the waves around him? What made him doubt? Was it the waves lapping up on his legs? The spray of the sea on the wind? What? Then my mind leapt (as it is wont to do on occasion) to the men standing on the deck of that ship he left behind. What were they thinking? Did one of them say “He looked away! Look! Peter looked away from Jesus, now he is sinking!” As I thought about those men I placed myself there on that deck. I could see Peter step out, and I watched him cross the boisterous sea. I knew the exact moment when he failed. I saw the moment he took his eyes off of Christ and I knew his doubts as he started to sink. You see; it’s really easy to see the whole picture when you are not there among the waves. It’s easy to watch, when you’re not in the midst of the action, and to say “There! That is where he made his mistake!” We must refrain from doing that, though. We mustn’t persecute someone for their mistakes while we sit safely to the side without anything on the line. It was when I thought back through the story and realized I had pointed the accusing finger (“There! That is where he made his mistake!”), that I had to stop and tell myself to shut up. Who was I to criticize? After all at least Peter got out of the boat.
I have learned through my 44 years in this world to treat everyone as if they can teach you something. It doesn’t matter how much ‘book learning’ they have, or how much intelligence they utilize. What matters is the fact that they are viewing things from a perspective that you CAN’T, because you are not them, and can never be them. Watch them, listen to them, and you may be surprised to find that you have learned something. Then use that knowledge to better the lives of yourself and those around you. My blog is late today, because I have been a little under the weather, and had a little trouble getting all I needed to done in the amount of time that I had. I put it off until the last minute and found I hadn’t thought of a topic. Then I read my friend Kathryn Lang’s blog on ‘Expectations’. (Check it out at the link below, it5 is worth the read!)
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? Eccl 1:2-3 (KJV)
King Solomon was the wisest king to rule over Israel, yet he remained unsatisfied with all that he did He was unhappy with all his accomplishments Wealth flowed into his kingdom’s coffers as freely as water fell from the sky, and yet he remained unhappy, seeing nothing worthy in anything he did. When money didn’t suffice, he turned to drink. When that didn’t work, he turned to pleasures of the flesh. When that didn’t work, he threw himself into his labors, and still nothing helped. Nothing made him happy. I find myself in that same rut sometimes. What’s the point? Nobody is seeing these words. Why bother writing them down? What do you gain by doing this? DING! There is where we go wrong. Happiness is not something you can gain for yourself. Happiness is given to you by God as a reward for faithful service. If you start into a venture wondering what you will gain from it, you probably won’t be gaining happiness out of it. Satisfaction, maybe. Maybe even pleasure, but not true happiness. Solomon realized this by the end of the book, but the first section makes you wonder if he is going to live long enough to learn. Gloom and doom rides him like a tangible cloud. The things that give you true happiness can’t be bought and they are treasures you will only find by giving of yourself.
I had the opportunity to watch God work this past weekend. I watched how things that seemed coincidental to start out with fell into place and lined up to make a beautiful plan work and become fruitful. As these things unfolded before my eyes, I heard Him speak.
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matt 6:26 (KJV)
While I heard this, He led my thoughts a little deeper, promising that He had more knowledge to share with me just a little further on. What He showed me made me stop and ponder anew. The main idea of all that He was showing me was ‘I am faithful. All that I have said that I will do will come to pass.’ The parable about God taking care of the sparrows was just the tip of what He was actually saying. I like to say that Science is just man’s way of describing God’s paintbrush. For some reason I thought about that as I watched Him provide for His children this weekend, and the context of the two thoughts collided drawing back a curtain and revealing a new secret to me. Think about it; God made everything. So if God made everything, He also made science. Science is basically man’s interpretations of the rules that make life possible and sustainable. The rules that make the sun rise in the east and set in the west. The rules that say the moon has power over the tides of the oceans. The rules that say a ship can float and a plane can fly. The rules of reality. The rules of everything. That’s a really big concept to break down. Now add this into the mix. If God created science, then every time a scientist succeeds in proving a theory, or recreates an experiment, God is proving to be faithful. Every time science is used, it points back to the Creator. Think about that for a little bit. The next time you drop your car keys and they fall down and not up, God has been faithful. When you turn on the light switch as you come home from work and the room is bathed in light, God has been faithful. When you say your name and sound are formed by the expelling of air though your mouth, God has been faithful. So no matter how often science tries to prove there is no God, it will never be able to, because it cannot deny it’s Creator. God is faithful.
I have a not-so-well-kept secret. At times my mood tends to turn dark and everything I look at is pointless. For a while I thought I might be bipolar, but eventually I came to realize that I was just one of many people that feel that way I think they call themselves writers). I’m never really sure what triggers it. Everything is going along fine, and suddenly the good ship lollipop begins to sink into the mire and the rainclouds of doom and gloom move in. Over the years I have learned to recognize when I am descending into the ‘valley’ between the waves. If I actively look at all the positive things going on , I may not be able to stop it, but I can at least lessen the grip of despair that use to envelope me. I don’t always succeed, and I would like to give each one of my family a medal for putting up with me during those times. Times when they stand in front of the waves of despair bracing themselves behind shields of positive comments, and generous actions forcing a way through those storms to keep me from drowning. They really have no idea how much they bolster my confidence, how much they help me through the darkness. They are my best defense against the depressions of life. They are invaluable to me. If you know somebody that suffers these bouts, maybe you can remember this post and it will help you understand. Maybe you can be their invaluable friend or family member. Maybe you can be their best defense
I apologize for being late with this blog post (seems like I’m saying that more and more here lately), but my work schedule has been really crazy. That being said, if I hadn’t waited about writing it, I probably would’ve posted on something else. I started working on a new ‘digital painting’ for the month of October, and the theme is ‘supernatural’. So I started thinking of what I could make, and I came up with a pretty good layout in my head. Now I just had to start modeling it in my 3D modeling programs. The layout required that I make a supernatural monster, so I settled on ‘Death’ or perhaps a demon of some sort. So that’s what I started modeling. As I did, it occurred to me what I was doing. I was creating my own demon. That got me to thinking. We tend to create our own demons. Sometimes out of other people, out of circumstances, even out of mistakes and accidents. Oh, I know there are real ‘demons’ out there. Evil personified and malevolent people and things, but sometimes we create our own in our minds. That is troubling enough, but then we give it power, letting it limit our goals and abilities. The world is a dark enough place without us giving it the club to beat us with. We can either face it head on or let it hold sway over us, keeping us fenced into a life of mediocrity. Maybe that thing holding you back is all in your head.
I pulled into the parking lot at work, counting myself lucky as I did because I spotted an empty parking spot close to the building. I usually back into my parking spots so that, when time comes to leave, I don’t have to take time turning around. Anyway, I backed in like normal, using my mirrors to gage how far I was from the vehicle in the spot directly across from it. I also kept as close to perpendicular as I could with the car parked on my left. I know from experience driving my car how close I can get using my mirrors. It was a breeze. I pulled in beautifully and got out to double check my parking job, all the while patting myself on the back for a job well done. That is until I realized I had made a common mistake. I assumed the person who had parked behind me knew how to park. I’m not sure what was going through this persons mind when they stopped their vehicle, but they were about five feet away from the line. Now, because I was judging where to stop by the car parked there, I was three feet across the line into their parking spot. I probably should have noticed I was off by the car parked next to me, but it was a compact and even though it looked about right, it took up less space. Let me note here that I work an odd shift, and I knew that this person was more than likely going to leave before I got off work. That would leave me parked three feet into an empty parking spot, just waiting for someone to try to park there, and end up bumping me because they were trying to squeeze in. Not wanting that to happen, I got back in and pulled up into my own spot. The more I thought about it the more I realized that what I did in that situation is what a lot of us do in everyday life. We usually judge our own accomplishments by what other people have done, when really there is no comparison. What we have done is according to our own gifts and abilities. We should never judge our own worth by what other people have done. It will skew your perceptions and you will overshoot, or stop short of your own goals. Judge you by you. You may not hit the mark every time, but I’ll guarantee you will be a whole lot more accurate that way.