Well, we didn’t “sail” on the Sea of Galilee but we enjoyed a motored boat crossing. I thought the coolest part was when we stopped the boat out in the middle of the lake and cut off the engines. All we could hear was the gentle lapping of the waves against the boat.
In Matthew 14 a storm whipped the lake into a frenzy. Ariel pointed out a specific valley on the west side of the sea that is known for funneling the wind, tossing the waters into turmoil. These winds would have been blowing directly in the faces of the disciples from where they were instructed by Jesus to set sail.
This caused me to consider why Jesus knowingly sent the disciples out onto soon-to-be stormy waters. Jesus sends His friends into a storm. Is that how to treat your closest friends? But I guess when you have dominion over the wind and the waves then it could be argued that Jesus sent them into a perfectly controlled environment.
We all sail straight into storms, and some of them occur even when we are obedient and following Christ. I’m not talking about the self-generated storms from my sinfulness; even following God’s will includes scary moments when no amount of rowing can get you to safe harbor. It’s at times like these that I find myself asking God, “Is this how you treat your friends?”
So I gotta keep telling myself that what seems chaotic and impossible to me is still within His dominion and rule.
Matthew goes on to describe how Peter – whose name means “rock” – asked Jesus to invite him out onto the water where Jesus was walking. I briefly wondered if the phrase “sank like a rock” perhaps originated with the faithless portion of Peter’s steps outside the boat. I pray that I may someday walk like a rock, not sink like one.
As I visit place after place that “claims” that such and such took place in “this very spot,” I am saddened. I’m saddened by the people who travel here to worship a place, missing the point of worshipping the God of this place. Humans are so quick to idolize places and objects – things we can touch and see.
It happens all around the world – we worship the places of worship rather than worship the God of the place. In one sense there is no such thing as a holy place because only God is holy. But at the same time, every place is holy because there is no place that can be hidden from God’s presence.
Craig and I were talking about this subject and he summed it up best when he said something like, “If I find it ‘easier’ to worship in the Holy Land than I do back home in church, coffee shops, around my dining room table, or while driving my car, then my faith is pretty wimpy.”
Another full day tomorrow, and “tomorrow” is less than 30 minutes away. Gotta get some rest. There was so, so much more that took place today that I’ll have to work in at a later date. BUT, I can’t sign off without mentioning that I got to baptize Beth in the Jordan River!!! We didn’t notice any doves or hear booming voices from heaven, but we are positive that God was in that place, that moment – and His Presence made it holy.
Gary, that valley almost called to me when we were there a year and a half ago. I have often thought of it since…what I did not know then was that Jesus knew of the wind that was blowing and the storm that was coming in my life….thanks for reminding me that this storm is entirely within His dominion and rule. I knew that, but it comforts me to be reminded of it. Thank you.
On a lighter note, I hope you are keeping track of the “Ariellisms” I still have notes of them in my journal. “Leftern, Rightern, Hollywoodian, Problematic” were my favorites!
gary! i’m just now catching up on your blogs! ya know, i actually did a little journaling on the sea of galilee when i was there last year. good thoughts & thanks for blogging them for us to read! yes, “arielisms” are wonderful! i can’t wait to go back some day & hear them again!