September 3, 2019
After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. (Matthew 14:23-25 NIV))
Two recent August nights on Georgian Bay offered natural spectacle that can only be described as awesome. The first was a dark, cloudy sky shimmering with sheet lightning. The second was a dark cloudless sky with stars so abundant and bright it left us speechless.
On their own these skies were spectacular but one night I shared it with my grandson and the next with my son-in-law. The sharing of the mystery and majesty of it all created spontaneous joy and gratitude.
Recently the line “Jesus went out to them” became my focus for a few days. He was grieving the horrible execution of John the Baptist, needing private space to pray but the crowds spotted his destination and were there to meet him. Jesus’ compassion was greater than his own need, so he served the people – even dinner for 5000. His care extended to his disciples, letting them get away before the crowds were dismissed.
Finally, Jesus had solitude and silence for conversation with the Father. Even while the disciples were rowing painfully into a headwind, he took the time he needed. Then he went out to them – not solving everything but being present to them.
September often feels like a new start. One freshness might be the assurance that even when Jesus seems to leave us to flounder and struggle, he comes to us and is present in our lives. He comes to us in a sunset, in a lightning storm, in the kindness of a friend who listens. He often comes to us in our loneliness – it is an invitation to relationship with the God who loves us perfectly and profoundly.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, you know how needy we sometimes feel, how anxious and broken. You know the storms we face, but you don’t coddle us while you care for us. Grant us eyes and ears to see and hear you in the rough and tumble of life. Help us do our job of serving you by serving others, with your compassion and thoughtfulness. For Jesus’ sake…..