…while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ… Titus 2:13
Did that first part of the above verse trip you up like it did me?! …while we wait… I don’t know about you but waiting is not my strong suit. I sit still too long and I’m certain I literally start to grow mold! What’s pretty about mold? Nothing! And similarly when I have to wait on God’s timing, His way, I’m afraid my attitude has a tendency to get pretty moldy. Moldy hopelessness can tend to grow when asked to wait too long, can’t it?!
Remember in Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says, “Simon, Simon Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back strengthen your brothers.” Before we go too far, my Hebrew/Greek word study bible indicates that the first “you” in that first verse is plural! Meaning it’s not just Simon that Satan has asked to sift like wheat. BUT look at John 17:9,15 where Jesus says, I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (15) My prayer is not that you take them out of this world but that you protect them from the evil one. Satan is a thief (John 10:10) and want’s nothing more than to steal your hope in Jesus because then he’s robbed you of your faith and thus salvation. Doesn’t that stir up a desire to scream out as a reminder to self, No weapon formed against me will prosper!!! (Isaiah 54:17) (Well depending on where you are right now screaming might be a bit abnormal, at least you can write it down in all caps on a sticky note right!!)
Peter in his denials of Jesus did not lose his faith or love but as he saw Jesus led away, he lost hope that this could ever end well and fear overcame. Romans 8:28 assures us He can make everything work together for good, His glory. Why, because He paid the total price for our lives on the cross and then rose again conquering death! Where O death is your victory, your sting! (1 Cor. 15:55) Matt. 22:31-32 –have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? (not I WAS) He is not the God of the dead but of the living. Heaven is real friends!! We have a blessed hope, Jesus has conquered, He has a kingdom of which He is coming back for us for!
Remember Satan is a thief though and he will work to blind, snatch, lull, mascaraed and mix Truth with all sorts of lies to gain a foothold in your heart and mind because he want’s nothing more than to see you and I benched, sitting held in a stronghold on the sidelines of abundant life. Thinking practically… well, so how do I make sure that doesn’t happen because sometimes life can truly feel like more than one can handle and the ground under foot seems awfully, awfully shaky. Sometimes it feels like God is allowing or asking too much. But where are my eyes when I’m thinking that way?! Me!! He won me a room in His Kingdom of which I did NOT deserve and He had to pay my way by His blood! He knelt, sweating blood in a garden one night asking for this to be accomplished any other way too! But He submitted…. to save me, and you. So whatever He has entrusted to me for such a time as this, if it feels He is asking for it back or at least for me to lay down the illusion of control I think I have over it and fully let go and place it into His mighty hand, I have to cling to 2 Timothy 1:12. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able (HE IS ABLE) to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. He is able to guard what I/you entrust to Him until that day – that blessed living hopeful day!
Don’t let the enemy steel what Jesus won for you in your hand-off!! The handing off, the entrusting to Him, of what may seem like too high a cost this side of heaven but it will not be! It will not be!!! Cling to the blessed hope! You are a child of God an heir to the throne! Do you know what that means!! We cannot even begin to fully comprehend its meaning except that it will be more beautiful than we could have ever even have imagined in our wildest dreams of wanting! Jesus’ example shows that He prayed in hours of exhaustion constantly. In my hours of exhaustion when I’m in my weakest state of mind am I following Jesus’ example or do I let myself be wide open game for the enemy?!
Something new hit me in Matthew 14:22-23 about Peter stepping out of the boat. It was verse 28. Just after verse 27 when Jesus walks out on the water and says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter responds in verse 28, Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water. – Now remember the waves are still roaring yet when Peter hears Jesus say, “Come”, out goes Peter anyway! This struck me because in Scripture Jesus assures us time and time again He will be with us, He will not forsake us. So yes, take courage don’t fear, in this world you will feel like you have more than you can handle handed to you and asked from you, but I think…. we have the option to take courage in the boat in the storm or maybe just maybe even as He approached the boat that night in the storm and stilled their fear with His presence He allowed the waves to rage on hoping that one with faith like Peter would be up for the adventure! An adventure so thrilling so breathtaking, one in which He could show the one up for it who He is, what He’s like when your willing to trust Him to take His hand and walk through the waves, on top of the crests, in the wild wind! I think He was longing for someone to know Him to those depths and lengths. He didn’t force anyone, we can ride the storms of life in the boat or we can take His hand and and willingly surrender it all to His will, His way, “Show me You Jesus, I’m coming in close, I’m getting out of the boat.”
Verse 30 says Peter saw the wind… now you can’t see the wind only the effects of it right… maybe that’s left to interpret as what do we see as the effects of our “wind”. In this scene it was literal waves for Peter, but what effects are the “winds” in yours and my life creating? Is it allowing the devil to get a foothold in your hope? Or is it emboldening your faith to say let the “wind” rage but Jesus call me out!!! The waves are going to rage and I see no light or end but I want to trust You. I’m on this ride called life and I don’t want to get off only having seen things from the perspective of my seat on the boat! If You are going to allow the waves to grow to heights I can’t handle on my own I don’t want to wait them out in the boat, I want you to use them for all that they are worth – show me Your glory as I step out and by Your will I’ll live to tell about it so someone else will not lose their promised blessed living hope in the process of handing off to You that which only You can guard perfectly until that day. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient.
Independent Read: 2 Cor. 4:16-17, Heb. 12:2, Phil. 4:8, 1 Peter 1:3, Romans 8:37
*See that picture on top, its a beautiful flower no mold in sight… don’t let the devil steal your seed, don’t grow weary in the wind, on the waves, in the rocks, always hope because He is faithful thus you can grow, even thrive, in the midst.