Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Get in the Boat!!

Well, it's official friends. The country is in my blood. Last night I got in the boat. And then out of it.

The kids have been trying to get my into that darn boat from the first day I moved in. For awhile, I got out of it simply due to the chilly temperatures. As winter was overtaken by new life this Spring, my excuses began to loose merit among this anxious crew. I straight up told these country bumpkins that I am a city girl—I don't do rickety canoes in a brown, snake-infested pond. My world would indeed end if my body somehow collided with those murky waters below.

Last week, the boys decided to brave the water for the first time in McCollum family history—they got IN THE POND!! Sick, nasty, gross—let me check you for diseases. I missed the big moment, but heard about it over and over again in the days to follow. It was a BIG deal.

So, here we are back to last night. SB was sitting out on the canoe in the middle of the pond reading. I walked down just to assess the situation a bit, not convinced at all this would be my big moment of stepping into that boat. Certainly NOT convinced of the events which would soon follow. SB rowed up the edge of the pond. As she was coming towards me, I knew this was it. Time to do it. I hesitated for a good ten minutes or so—arguing with myself, trying to reign over my growing fear. Then much like a little voice of truth in my brain, I hear an audible voice. LOUD.  It took many seconds to realize this was indeed not just in my head, but was shouted from up on the deck.

"Get in the boat, Courtney!!!" Kevin shouted out from above. Sounds silly, but it was a big moment in my life. I didn't allow one more fear to speak—I just did it. Believe it or not, it was no big deal. We didn't tip over {yet, anyhow} and nothing jumped aboard to attack me {yes, I really thought this might happen}.
His words continued to wedge their way into my weary soul as the night wore on.

Get in the boat Courtney. 

Several years ago, I listened to a sermon by someone whom I wouldn't credit with teaching the solid word of God as I have matured from milk to solid food over the years, but I remembered it in this moment, so I guess that means something. She was talking about getting in the boat—she even had a boat up on the stage and preached from a seat in the boat. Yes, this really did happen. And no, I do not believe women have the authority to preach in a church. Anyhow, she was preaching on how easy it is for us to live enslaved to fear—fear of getting into the boat. Sometimes we even take a step or two in, but jump out as soon as the waters shake the boat a bit.

In the book of Mark, Jesus commands His disciples to get into the boat—knowing full well that the wind would be against them. Knowing that they would be fearful. Knowing that they had indeed reason to fear. Yet He could see beyond the fear, beyond the circumstances that brought the fear, beyond their reaction. He commanded them to do something which He knew full well would strengthen their faith in ways which would be impossible apart from getting into the boat. If the disciples were safe on the shore when Jesus walked on the water and merely heard tell of it later on, I imagine it wouldn't have had the same effect.

Not that I expected Jesus to come walking across that pond towards me if I tip-toed onto that boat, but Kevin's command brought me back to reality. The kids are always told if you don't do it right away, it is not obeying. First time obedience is required. I think I struggle with this. I hear the command from the Lord as loud as Kevin shouting it at me in this moment, often times, but I just choose to think about it a little bit first.

To weight the pros and cons. To evaluate how uncomfortable, how fearful, how insecure this is going to make me feel. Then only to decide if it's worth it. What do I have to give up? Will I gain anything immediately? What will people think of me if I do this? How will I feel? And yet, even thinking these things—giving ear to my fears, considering the counsel of the wicked, none of it is obedience. In fact, it is disobedience if you define obedience as my adopted family does. Lord, I desire to live a life of obedience—obeying your commands always brings life. Choosing disobedience brings death. I know this to be true time and time again in my life.

Just as clearly as I heard Kevin yelling at me to just get into the darn boat, I pray I would be attentive to hear your voice this clearly—that I would seek peace and pursue it long enough to hear your commands. And that when I do hear them, I would act immediately in obedience to your voice, for this is where I may truly live.

Well, after a bit of time in the boat, a crowd began to gather on the deck above—and I knew it. The high of actually getting into this silly boat was going to my head—next thing I knew, I heard these words coming off my tongue but that surely was not me talking.

"SB, what do you think they would all do if I just jumped off this boat into the water?"

I'd say about ten minutes later, I was in the water.

Yes—that's right. I got in the murky, slimy, brown, fishy, snaky, smelly, dirty, don't have a clue what critters are lurking beneath me waters of the pond. Me and SB—we are champs.

I knew you would all need proof—so here you go...

Then the other sisters of course had to come join in—and tip our whole canoe over. Eventually, Kevin also had to get in, only to rescue us from never getting out after we flooded the canoe. 

"Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened."—(Mark 6:45-52 ESV)

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