“Adventurously expectant” is my “one” word for 2016. As I sit here in my pajamas I don’t look or feel it.
I wrote earlier that this year I am going putting some practices into my life to help me pay better attention to what God might want to teach me through this “one word”.
One practice is looking at places in Scripture where these words are fleshed out. Peter is certainly one I think of as “adventurously expectant”. i can’t picture him sitting around in his pajamas, so I decided to look at one of his “moments”.
When I look at a passage, I always try to look for (at least) 2 things:
- What I can learn about Jesus/God and
- What I might learn about myself.
What do you see here?
Matthew 14: 22-23 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
Oh my gosh! There is just SO MUCH here! I’m sure you can add your own, but here are a few of the things I notice or have read about being “adventurously expectant”:
- Jesus sends the disciples on ahead (and hightails it to the hills for some alone time). He KNOWS He’s sending them into a wave-battering. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s not of God. Sometimes we create our own “storms”, but maybe God sends us into storms (i.e. “adventures”) to teach us dependence.
- We expect Jesus/God to come to us in a comfortable or predictable way, or through blessing, but do we recognize Him in the wave-battering? Do I recognize Him in the middle of an adventure of stepping out in faith when things aren’t going as I planned?
- When Jesus says, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” He says it when they are alone on the water, before they get into the boat with the others. John Ortberg has written, “It may be that Jesus – like any good mentor – did not want to embarrass Peter in front of the other disciples. So in the privacy and safer of His strong right hand, he gently helps Peter locate the source of his problem.”
- This passage is about the size of Peter’s faith, but maybe even more about God’s greater grace. Jesus reached out and caught Peter – like a harness on a ropes course catches us.
- When Jesus wants us to grow, maybe He doesn’t give us answers, but instead He gives us problems.
- Does my adventurous expectation also come with strings attached? Dale Bruner writes, “It is important to see that Peter did not ask Jesus for a promise – e.g., ‘Lord, promise me I won’t sink’ – but specifically for a command: ‘Lord, if it is You, command me.”
- Which is going to have more power in my life – the wave, or the Word that says Jesus can be trusted no matter what? Where is my primary focus?
- John doesn’t have this in his gospel. He was in the boat. I don’t want to have a second-hand faith, but an intimate adventure with Jesus no matter what.
Again, I’m sitting here in my pajamas in front of the fire. Do you ever notice how much easier it is to get excited about wave-walking in the abstract than to actually get dressed and get out there? I’m just saying…
What about you? Do you have a word? Or thoughts on being “adventurously expectant”?