“Who is a disciple? A disciple is one who responds in faith and obedience to the gracious call to follow Jesus Christ. Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.” ~ Greg Ogden
When travelling with children there is one thing that every adult dreads. The question; “Are we there yet?” The repetition of that question has the potential to turn relatively calm articulate couples into abrupt and weary travelers who firmly respond “NO!” I have tried the educators response by using reply question as my reply. “Can you tell me what mile marker you see next? That will help us discover how much further we have to go.” That works for a couple of miles at least. Then as the whining continues my lesson become; “Hey, tell me what else you see?” Unfortunately it usually ends up with; “How about you close your eyes to rest and we will get there before you know it.”
The desire to arrive at our destination is one that we wrestle with in many parts of our lives. We develop ways to motivate ourselves as we proceed and look for bright spots to encourage our efforts. As we read scripture we begin to see rather quickly that such a being a disciple of Jesus requires sacrifice, patience, and trust. Let’s be honest, just about everyone is willing to take a “sure thing” and that is especially true when we have the map of how it will all work out so that we can project with limited to no error our moment of arrival. The problem is that being developed by God as a disciple of Jesus comes with no guarantees about arrival times. It is a life-long endeavor and some of the lessons must be learned multiple times throughout our lives. This leaves us frequently wondering “Are we there yet? How much further?” This is especially true during seasons of waiting when our spiritual engines are revving, but we cannot gain traction on the road that brings the dark cloud of the anxious soul.
Our spiritual journey in Jesus is not always like this, but when it gets to that point we can feel like God is absent. Nothing is further from the truth. God is present in our lives at that moment based on the fact that we desire to get unstuck and move toward God. It is God who is filling our hearts with the desire to seek while we feel like we are spinning our wheels. This is not wandering, but rather part of the journey of being a disciple. I don’t ever refer to Dwight L. Moody, but he came up with an image for this that is too good to pass up. He explained that faith and our journey as disciples of Jesus is like the following: There are three kinds of faith. The one who is floundering and fearful in deep water; the one who is clinging to the side of the life boat; and the one who is secure, resting in the life boat ready to help someone else.
I have found that the temptation can come for those of us in the boat with Christ, secure in the knowledge of what God has done for us, to forget that we have a responsibility to help the others out the water. When we are disciples of Jesus we make it our priority to pull folks into the boat. Not to make more folks like us, but to give them the rest that we have found only exists in Christ. Sometimes the result of our efforts is that we end up back in the stormy waters of life, but rest assured God will bring you back into to continue the work God gave you to do.