The past two days have been unlike any others I have experienced. The brief context is this: God has called me out of the discipleship role I was filling at a Southern California mega-church. Earlier this year, in prayer, I wondered if some of what I was sensing were the winds of change beginning to swirl on the horizon.
You see, before God called me into vocational ministry He called me out of a blossoming career in higher education. In that, it may seem as if God calling me to something new has all happened before. In a sense it has and in quite another…God is doing something altogether different.
The difference is this: when God asked me to leave a lucrative career and enter ministry He was asking me to make sacrifices, change from one 40-hr/wk job to another, move from one county to another, and surrender to new levels. This time, God has asked me to sacrifice all, leave common structure, move on from traditional stability, and surrender to new levels. In essence, He has called me out onto the waters (Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United). Given the circumstances, the question how do I wrap my mind around this? comes up. The answer is, I don’t.
The first half of Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?…” This has been a daily refrain since I have come to love God. He reminds me consistently that in His divinity, He is never-changing and always new. Meditating on the newness of God has taught me that things are rarely what they seem; yet, by default, we (those made in God’s image) are quick to decide what the truth of a given matter is for ourselves. In this transition, I have begun to tune in and really listen to the patterns, defaults, assumptions, and judgments of my thought waves.
Our perception-former, decision-maker, and judgement-control-center takes place in and through the thought waves of the mind. God has designed us to experience the world through an electro-sensory process housed in the body (which He calls a temple, made after His own image). In that, I could attempt to wrap my mind around the changes which would look something like cramming a divine orchestration into my teeny-tiny soul-brain (in other words, attempting stuffing a galaxy into a teacup). So…if not this option, then what?
I could stay busy and fill my time with relevant and necessary tasks and engagements. I could retreat into the solace of disciplines. I could visit everyone I know and love before moving across the country… While versions of each of these will take place over the next week…something crucial must happen first and forevermore.
I must let God make my thought waves fluid.
Three of the four gospels each account two important encounters the disciples of Jesus had on the Sea of Galilee. The first is a foretaste of the second. Matthew 8:24 describes, “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”
The Son of God rested soundly while His beloved flock, those who the Father had entrusted to Him were battling the earthly elements and loosing ground. Yet, all the while they were in His presence. Jesus was physically with them in the midst of overwhelming darkness, panic, and confusion. His divine response was to question their fear and faith. They couldn’t wrap their minds around the truth. In fact, after Jesus rebuked the wind and waves His followers were left asking, “Who is this man?” and “What kind of man is this?” Isn’t this just like us?
In the second encounter Jesus had withdrawn from the disciples. Again they faced stormy winds and rains on the sea. This time Jesus was not in the boat; but, He was not far off. As Jesus walked over the waves toward His chosen ones He answered one of their requests for the truth. Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) The questions the disciples asked during the first storm encounter on the Sea of Galilee are answered in this moment. Jesus simply says, “Come.” As Peter steps out onto the water, he does so without the permission or understanding of his natural mind. In that step of faith, his thought waves become fluid enough for the truth of his identity to manifest. In that moment, his eyes are fixed on the Lord and he walks toward Jesus.
When Peter’s focus shifts from Jesus (His person and the Word of His command) to the natural wind and waves, he sinks. The Kingdom truth of Jesus in Peter and its manifestation the natural world at that moment became visible. But just as quickly as it appeared it disappeared in an instant.
In this season, more than ever before, I must lose my mind to find it. My thoughts must become captive to the obedience of Christ who says, “Come.” What an invitation to those who call Him Lord and Savior. In the middle of a storm in the middle of the sea, Jesus calls His chosen ones to step out in faith. He invites His beloved into the truth.
My prayer and desire is for the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). In this mind thought waves are not part of a threatening, untamed tempest. Instead, they become the flooding fluid of kingdom conduction in the natural body, full of surrendered belief (In Over My Head – Bethel Music).
Father, in this moment, I ask that you cause all those who love You to recognize You as Master over all natural and thought waves. Cause us to be Yours, Amen.