Pushing off from the Shoreline

I wonder how long ago it was that I left the end of the collective “me” behind….The shore line to all that held me back from living fully alive seems so far out of reach I can’t even remember what rested on that shoreline in the first place.  Glory to God.I vaguely remember fear, insecurity, self-doubt and an extreme illusion of being in control of my life set somewhere near the beach front.  Pulling up to the “dock” in Les Cayes, Haiti, mixed within the trash, the brewing storm and the choppy waves we stood, as a Compassion Team, nearly speechless as we watched a lone boat operating more like what we would consider a canoe with ores navigate the waves… the crashing…and the fear.Considering riding a boat across the ocean to the island of Il La Vache was looking more and more precarious.  Our flesh was rising up in unspoken tones of fear, as it is known to do in the overwhelming warning that you are indeed not in control, nor are you able to accomplish the task before you without the help of the Almighty……”His Power is perfected in our weakness” has taken on a walking, breathing, real life meaning this week in Haiti.  The Words have nearly leapt off the pages of scripture.  It has been as if we have jumped into the chalk drawings of Mary Poppins, only here in Haiti it has meant that we have leapt with all that we are within the gray chalk color of poverty upon poverty.Least you get to the unreasonable place of forgetting that you are not only not in control, but liberated more as you allow Christ to control, manipulate and calm the waters……of you……while you are sandwiched deep within the bowls of a third world country…boarding a less than ideal boat to cross choppy ocean waves on a stormy day will solidify your desperate dependence on God’s hand guiding the ship and calming the waters.“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let US GO ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE,’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was.  And other boats were with him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.  And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace!  Be still!’  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said the them, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?’” Mark 4:35-40As a Compassion Team we were not waiting to board a commercial boat nor were we waiting to board the opposite extreme of a canoe….however we were in Haiti and we were staring at a boat and a sea that to our flesh looked somewhat unreasonable.  And yet there was a calm to overcome and board.So we did.  We all did.  More than board physically, I believe as a team we boarded mentally, emotionally and spiritually.   We boarded to trust that all the “me” we were leaving on that trash infested shoreline represented the collective “me” that is limited by our own strengths, our own wisdoms, our own understandings.  You may ask why negotiate greater strength…why encourage bold boarding…why the willingness to overcome the fear, the doubt, the “self” that holds us back again and again from seeing Jesus calm the waves?I can tell you on that day; it was the knowing that there situated on the hillside of a remote village on the island of Il La Vache were children depending on us to cross to the other side.  Waiting to sing, waiting to rejoice, and waiting to connect to more than the collective “us” representing Compassion.  They were waiting to sing, rejoice and see the hands and feet of Jesus.Not to see us, to see Jesus.To……..see……………. Jesus.That seeing, that feeling, that touching of Jesus found within our hands and feet depended on our willingness to be brave enough to forget the “us” and see Jesus work on the wind, the waves and past all our reservations.  It depended on us boarding that unknowing water and crossing, because Jesus told us to.  Jesus reassured us of His peace, reassured us in His near hearted whisper of the cloud of His favor hovering above us.  Jesus reminded us of His children waiting, singing…longing.  Because after the depths of poverty and hopelessness we had seen throughout the hallows of Haiti debating the option to allow our fears to manipulate being the hands and feet of Jesus was simply not an option.It is just not an option to say no after you have seen what we have seen.  What we have seen is nearly unexplainable, it is honestly simply felt.  And after you have felt it, if the Spirit says “GO!” nothing…not even yourself….could keep you from getting on that boat and crossing.And all it took was a step and Jesus parted the water.  Granted those in the front of the boat got splashed with water the entire trip over….BUT they stayed the course and crossed to the other side.  For those of us in the back of the boat we watched as the shoreline disappeared and the sun came out almost as soon as we began to cross.  We felt the crossing.  We felt Jesus rise and bless {physically, mentally, emotionally and most definitely spiritually} the obedience to trust Him.“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me, I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” Psalm 16:7-9And then the island of Il La Vache appeared.  It emerged as a watershed to our poverty weary eyes.  The island was tucked within a cove and held beauty I have honestly never seen before.  It was a reprieve in numerous ways within the shallow depths of a swollen heart beating more and more for a country that so longs that beauty to materialize, to a release from the unending road of poverty.  It was as if the very rocks were crying out in praise to the Creator as we approached the island.  Pink blooms spilled over rock faces like waterfalls.  Sapphire water glistened on a glass top ocean cove.  Palm trees sprouted from the earth among manicured grass lawns and they simply framed the jungle beauty of a paradise created by the Creator Himself.To think we had reservations of crossing……Not simply to the island, but to crossing over to the other side of our hearts.  To doubt at any point that as we stepped in obedience God would not overwhelm us with His goodness seems laughable.  In that act of trust and release our faith was built.  Once we docked and then regrouped to sail over to the other side and visit the Project the shore line that received us was just as it should have been and every bit different from the shore line we left.  The woman weeding through a beach of trash was replaced with a rocky beach of children that had been awaiting our arrival……and from what we know now they could have been waiting all day long.I’m glad we pressed into the Lord, trusted His hand, were blessed by His cloud of favor, risked leaving the end of ourselves and decided to cross to the other side.It is hard for me to describe with words the sounds that filled that island as we climbed through the jungle; hiking to the sound of children singing.  Not just singing rote memorized songs of obligation, as we in the first world church are known to do, but a rising of song to their King…a blessing from all they had to the One that they are assured heard them from Heaven.  Rising up in declaration they shouted a song at the top of their lungs in French Creole that filled the House of God seated high on that mountain top. “This is THE DAY that the Lord has made! WE WILL rejoice and be glad in it!”I’m reminded to keep “crossing”.  Jesus is in the boat, over the waves and watching from Heaven.  Trust His hand.  Remember He called you to be faithful.  A rising of songs like you have never heard could be waiting on the other side rising from a depth of faith you have only dreamed of obtaining.Cross over in your marriage.  Abandon selfishness; receive the blooms of God’s faithfulness.Cross over your inhibitions.  Abandon fear; receive the steadiness of God’s cloud of favor.Cross over your repetitive lust for addiction.  Abandon what never satisfies; receive the fresh air of freedom that becomes the greatest aphrodisiac.Cross over your speculations to GO in Jesus Name.  Abandon doubt; receive with boldness of the Great Commission.Cross over your limitations in parenting.  Abandon disenchantment and being disengaged while raising your children; receive their singing as you bend low to train them up in the ways they should go.Now….now, that I’ve SEEN Jesus, His love and faithfulness commands my soul to leave the shore.  Are you willing to leave the shoreline?Oh, beloved….be willing.  A Joy that can only be felt awaits to receive you with arms open wide.