In the summer of 1999, I had the awesome opportunity to go on our church youth group’s Senior class trip to Israel. We helped with a middle school youth camp for several days and then had four days to tour the country. On one of our days in the Galilee region, we took a boat out onto the lake. Our tour guide told stories as we cruised away from shore. When we reached a point farther out, he dropped the anchor and turned off the motor so we could have 5-10 minutes of silent prayer and meditation.
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.” ~Mark 4:35-36
There I was, sitting on a boat in the middle of the same body of water where Jesus and his disciples crossed ‘to the other side.’ I was a recent high school graduate who was crossing from childhood to adulthood. I knew where I was going – God made it clear that He had given me a heart for photography and I was enrolled in the Photographic Technology program at Daytona Beach Community College (now Daytona State College) – but I had no clue about what ‘the other side’ actually looked like.
Today, almost 16 years later, I find myself in a similar position. Unfortunately I’m not out on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee (seriously, when is teleportation gonna be invented?!) but I do feel as though I’m out in the middle of the water on the Sea of Life 🙂
Transition comes in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s gradual and sometimes it’s an abrupt shift. Sometimes the changes are immediate, like when you say good bye to one job on Friday and hello to a new one on Monday. Sometimes we know it’s time to leave one place and head to ‘the other side’ but we don’t know exactly what ‘the other side’ looks like…or maybe we have a general idea but we just don’t know how big the ‘in-between’ space is and how long it’s gonna take to cross.
The first four months of this year have been full of a lot of prayer, vision-seeking and really resting in God as He revealed His blueprint for the next season of our lives. It has felt like a safe place…a protected place where we’ve frolicked through the heavenly fields of flowers and soaked in the supernatural. It’s a whole lot of warm fuzzy-ness when God pours out his love and encouragement and calls out the greatness inside of you. But then He gets to the point where He says ‘ok, it’s action time…start walking in the greatness I’ve called out and step into the deep end of faith.’ (insert human temper tantrum and the general feelings of ‘aw crap’)
The ‘in-between’ is a strange place. Maybe not for everyone, but since I’m made up of many layers, it is. Although some ‘in-betweens’ can feel like 40 years of wandering the wilderness like Israelites, thankfully I’m in a different type. It’s more along the lines of feeling like I’m standing on the edge of a diving board, about to jump off onto a hiking trail in the mountains.
I’m standing here on the edge of the future looking back over recent months thinking how it wasn’t long ago that my time was filled with things that aren’t even in my life anymore. I’m reflecting on the fact that as dramatic as it may sound, we’re standing on the edge of a future that will be lightyears beyond our past. God has called us into more. To press in, leave the crowd and cross ‘to the other side’ where a world that is beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed of awaits.
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” ~Mark 4:37-39
I’m jumping off the diving board onto a hiking trail in the mountains because pressing into God and following hard after His lead takes faith and commitment and putting on the blinders to things that are really not eternally important. It involves sacrifice and occasionally ‘the road less traveled.’
There have been and will continue to be storms and moments of asking God why the heck He’s sleeping while we’re getting tossed around by furious waves…and following moments where we stop accusing God of sleeping and instead invite Him into situations that we’ve tried to handle ourselves.
Maybe you find yourself in the boat attempting to make it to ‘the other side’ and you’re tired of asking God ‘ARE WE THERRRRE YET?!?’ Maybe you’re in the ‘wandering in the wilderness’ scenario or are standing at the edge of your own diving board trying to convince yourself to jump. Regardless of where you are, know that God is right there with you. He will never leave nor forsake you. The same God who calmed the storm and waves thousands of years ago is there to calm the storms in your circumstances and/or your heart.
There is a world you never imagined waiting for you ‘on the other side’. Stay in the boat, keep pressing on and into God, and allow Him to rock your socks off. I am right there in the boat next to you, cheering you on! 🙂