The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Where ARE You already?

May 15, 2009

Where ARE You already?

Being at the end of yourself is a hard place to be in. I find myself every day begging God to show up and unable to see what He's doing. He's somewhere. He's working. I know all of this to be true. But I can't see anything. Not in whole and not in part.

I search the scriptures for some clue. Give me some verse, some word, something, I beg. Something to show me what's going on. I keep coming back to this:

Mark 6: 45-52

"Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the board and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethasida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding him farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened."

It's an odd version of Jesus walking on water. The passage that I've always known about Jesus walking on water comes from Matthew. In this version, Peter says to Jesus, "Lord, if it is You command me to come to You on the water." And Jesus says, "Come." Peter then walks on water. That is, until he takes his eyes of Jesus and starts to sink. The lessons are clear there -- fix your eyes on Jesus, you'll be able to do things as impossible as walking on water. Take your eyes off Jesus and you sink. Jesus extends His mercy to Peter and stretches His hand to save him. And then, as I always imagined with a little warmth says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Which brings me back to the passage in Mark. There's no Peter in this one, just a bunch of fearful disciples, straining against the wind late into the night. Jesus sees them, and intends to walk past them. They see him, grow afraid (and why not?), and He gets into the boat with them, reassuring them that he's Jesus, not some ghost. And yet, they fail to see or understand what is going on. Their hearts are hardened, it says. And that's where the passage ends.

I'm left to wonder what that's all about. Especially how it relates to me. Why did Jesus intend to pass on by? Why did He get in the boat? Why did the disciples not understand? Am I like those disciples, straining against the wind, unable to see that it is Jesus, walking on water, passing on by. And why didn't he just get into the boat to start with? Why would Jesus intend to pass by?

These days, I wrestle with God on a daily basis. I'm not quite sure what I'm wrestling with him about. Throughout my Christian life I've always been the person that says, "If God says so, who are we to argue?" Obedience has always been my default. It all sounds good on paper, until I realize that my particular brand of obedience is actually a facet of hopelessness. Hopelessness that God really gives me desires that He wants to fulfill. That He is a Father who gives us bread, and not stone. That God isn't some Coach out to train and discipline me FOREVER by putting everything I truly desire just slightly out of my reach, so there'll be some eternal lesson I get to learn.

And so, I wrestle with God. This is a God who is the Father that gives me good things. I don't deny that He has. And yet, I'm dissatisfied. Is this a dissatisfaction that comes from rebellion? Or is this a truly dissatisfaction that comes from growth, that comes from wanting to see more of God? From wanting to believe and know that this is the God that brings about the impossible? The God that... for once, gives me desires, AND fulfills those desires He gives? Do I dare put aside myself and believe that what I want, perhaps isn't so bad for me? And even if those desires do not come to pass, should be something I continue to challenge God to give me?

I'm lost. Everyday I ask, where ARE You already, God. COME ON! SHOW UP! It feels strangely petulant to be so insistent. And yet, I can't help myself. I need the veil to be lifted. I no longer can be satisfied with a soft, hazy version of God.

1 comment:

aartilla the fun said...

i was going through a very similar thing recently janice. then i saw robia lamorte at the women's brunch at vineyard. and she blew me away. you might be able to download some of her stuff at

there's a cd about the wilderness season that i haven't listened to yet, but sounds like might fit your struggle at the moment.

anyway, i found that i was asking God to show Himself to me over and over again... and one day it occured to me that perhaps He was there, but I was so busy with my own expectations of what it would like/feel like when He was there, that i was blinded to Him. So instead, I started saying, thank you god for showing yourself to me... over the days, that little thing seemed to help, perhaps because it is an act of faith to thank Him for doing something before you've actually seen it. does that make sense?

i pray that He reveals Himself to you.