Lost My Tailwind

There are days when it feels as though I can see heaven from my kitchen window.
The goal is in sight, my mission is clear, and Jesus’ voice is as real to me as the ringing phone or the morning alarm.
Then, there are days when I feel like a castaway from the shipwreck of the S.S. Salvation, lying listless and spent on a wooden door that used to lead somewhere,
watching sharks circle, blinking at a relentless sky,
 my ambition as parched as my cracked and sunburned lips.
Perhaps I’m being a tad dramatic.
I just thought at some  point, things would be different, you know?
I thought that as I grew older, grew up, matured, there would come a day when I could set my faith on cruise control. I thought I’d hit my stride and wake up every day knowing exactly what to do and how to be.
That ain’t happening.
And it’s not about employing spiritual discipline, devotions, fasting, tithing, praying, Bible reading, sacrificial living, or any other spiritual calisthenics all of you solution savvy readers are about to prescribe.
I am there. I do that. I pray that. I read that. I study that. I give that. I live that. I’ve been to the mountain, baby, and I’ve seen the dazzling white.
And still, there are days that come when I’m belly up on that raft wondering how I’ll ever make it to shore, trying to remember if that’s even the goal.
Have you been there? Have you drifted on that door?
I know I’m not all alone.
The disciples have sailed in these waters.
Luke 9 is an adventure in the ebb and flow of faith. At the start, Jesus arms the twelve with power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases then sends them out to proclaim the kingdom of God.
Hoo, doggie. That’s heady stuff.
Chosen. Empowered. Sent. Wow.
When they return, they withdraw with Him to Bethsaida and a huge crowd gathers.
Jesus suggests they feed the crowd, but they don’t respond like miracle men. The whole loaves and fish idea is His. The disciples, fresh off their deliverance and faith-healing tour, are checking the budget and worrying about cashflow.
In the next moment, they probably felt somewhat frustrated and confused because Jesus starts asking them who they think He is and talking with them about denying themselves and losing their lives.
Things feel really serious all of a sudden, ominous, like there’s suffering ahead and they’re nostalgic for yesterday’s signs and wonders.
But suddenly, Peter, John, and James are witness to Jesus miraculously altered, dazzling white, speaking with Moses and Elijah who appear out of nowhere – like real. So real, they want to build shelters for them.
The passage said the disciples had been sleeping but suddenly they were fully awake. I’ll bet! As if that wasn’t enough, they hear the voice of God from the clouds announce Jesus as His Son, His Chosen One.
No wondering who they’re following now. No doubt. All glory. Glory, glory, Hallelujah, baby!
Wow. Wow. Oh, wow. This is so real and so clear and so much about Jesus.
Until the next day.
Coming down the mountain they run into a dissatisfied customer complaining that the disciples can’t cast the demon out of his son and Jesus seems frustrated. They’re not sure why.
Then His mood darkens and He starts talking about dying and the disciples don’t understand but they already feel like failures for not delivering that kid from a demon so they’re afraid to mention that what He just said totally confused them.
So, in a shining moment of ultimate spirituality, they start arguing about which of them is the greatest! How fleshly and human can a disciple get?
Worse yet, when a village of Samaritans rejects Jesus, the disciples offer to call down fire from heaven to consume the lot of them!
And those are only the stories from ONE chapter of ONE gospel.
God is unchanging. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
But me, I’m as moody and changeable as the weather in New England. And sometimes I get sick of myself. And sometimes I wonder how God can stand me. And often I imagine I’m really close to being cut from the team.
But then I remember the disciples and their long walk with Jesus.
He’s been here. He knows what we’re made of. He knows what we’re up against. He is undeterred from our bad days and not as impressed with our good ones as we are. He knows it’s a long trip from the ground to glory and He has promised not to leave us – ever.
On days when I wake up and find myself on the raft, I’ve learned not to panic. If prayers seem empty and scripture like stale bread, I pray anyway. I flip to the Psalms and remember that every follower has feelings.
Sometimes it’s a sign I need a rest or a break or refreshment. Sometimes it’s a sign of illness or a need to confess. Other times, I don’t see a reason for it at all except maybe it’s a test of faith, something to wait out or paddle through.
The truth remains that God has chosen to work with us faulted, fallen humans – so obviously in need of forgiveness and grace – to build His kingdom on earth and I am not rejected.
No matter how I feel – I am chosen, called, and sent.
How about you? Do you have days adrift? Do you lose sight of shore? What’s your cure – how do you find your tailwind?

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11 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. diane homm says:

    Thank you my sister. The title spoke to me. “This is me,” I said to my dog who has an ear infection. Some days are like that. I’m thinking I’ll go to bed early…maybe that will help..maybe I’m in need of rest 🙂 God bless you!

  2. Rest easy, friend. The sun rises again tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Thank you for articulating the connection between Scripture, Jesus, and my life. Your clarity lets me know I’m not alone.

  4. As a desert dweller I employ a different metaphore: there are days when the heavens are as brass. My prayers don’t seem to get any higher than the ceiling and the God with whom I recently experienced sweet fellowship is curiously silent. Changeable, me? Yes. Time of testing? Perhaps. Endless? Seems like it but no. There is always an end to the desert.

  5. Just remember, friend, Jesus sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane over what He faced. And He was perfect.

    Working out our salvation, and sometimes the fear and trembling take over.

  6. Anonymous says:

    When I was working full-time, raising two children, keeping the house clean, and giving moral support to my husband, I always felt the presence of God. Now I’m reluctantly retired and spend much time alone, it’s often difficult to feel God’s presence–like I’m alone on the boat with no fish to catch and no desire to catch them. Sometimes I tell myself this is my “Mary” time, I’ve been “Martha” too long. Yesterday my pastor gave me materials to begin a study “Systematic Theology I: God’s Unchanging Word in an Ever Changing World.” Perhaps God heard me whine once too often about being beached on the sand. In any case, He has provided me with a study that can bring me closer to Him if I’ll let it. In this time of great troubles, He reached out to me through my pastor’s thoughtfulness and provided me with a way to sit at His feet and enjoy the time to be there. I’m always amazed that you find music to fit your words for the day. I depend on your blog to start my day and put my thoughts in place as I put my faith in Him around me like a warm garment in a cold room. MOMMA