Let Jesus Be

The following article by Rebecca Hagelin appeared in the October 30, 2017 edition of the Washington Times as: Leave Jesus as he is. Perhaps you’ll appreciate it as I do.  RMF

Leave Jesus as he is
by Rebecca Hagelin

 

Rebecca Hagelin

The gentle breezes rustling through the palm trees were matched in melodious beauty by the crash of the waves against the shore.
As if in a symphony, the voices of some 50 worshippers rose in praise to our awesome God as we sang of his goodness at the outdoor service on Little Gasparilla Island.
Erica Emmanuel, the pastor’s wife, led us in Hillsong’s “Oceans”:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.

Our purpose as we gathered several weeks ago was to thank God for his mercy on our little island through the raging hurricanes that bludgeoned our corner of the world. Even while we met in praise, we prayed for those who still suffer from Harvey, Irma and Maria.
My heart is drawn to those suffering from other types of storms too. For some, recent “storms” have come in the form of raging fires or massive earthquakes. For others, personal torrents of abuse or betrayal threaten to wreak havoc in broken hearts. As a nation, it seems that political tsunamis are daily engulfing both our sanity and civility.
When we face such trials and fear, it’s critical to remember not just that Jesus is with us but who he is.
Pastor Keren Emmanuel shared the account in Chapter 4 of the Gospel of Mark, in which Jesus led his disciples onto an old fishing boat and then promptly fell asleep just as a huge storm erupted, threatening their very lives.
As the waves flooded the tiny boat, and the winds and rains whipped the terrified fishermen, Jesus slept.
He slept until his followers could no longer contain their fear and woke him with a cry: “Don’t you care about us?”
Have you ever cried out to God, questioning if he still cares? I know I have.
Although I’ve been familiar with the story in Mark since my childhood, the pastor pointed to a phrase in the passage that I had never noticed before. In Verse 36 it says that when the disciples agreed to go with Jesus across the sea, they “took him as he was.”
Why is it that when things look dire, we often forget to “take Jesus as he is”? Even people of abiding faith have a tendency to split him up into a part-time savior.
For some reason we don’t think that the God who delivered us from, say, a health crisis can now deliver us from a bad circumstance at work. We forget who he is.
“When the mortgage is three months late or our marriage is falling apart, we forget,” Mr. Emmanuel said. “When retirement seems like work, Part 2; when rough waters hit, we forget who he is. I implore you to stop and consider exactly who it is that is in your boat.”
We need to learn to leave Jesus as he is in all circumstances at all times — to reject the temptation to shape him into something less than who he is.
It’s a beautiful, miraculous, continuous truth that is ours to embrace and sear into our souls: Christ doesn’t change even though our situations do, even when our faith waivers.
And although he does not always choose to deliver us from all of our circumstances, he promises to work all things together for our good if we love and follow him. Nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy, not even our deepest hurt or most painful loss.
Whatever you are facing, embrace the fullness of Christ, leaving Jesus as he is: the alpha and omega. Wonderful counselor. Redeemer. Lord of Lords. Righteous judge. Prince of Peace. Light of the World. Savior. Mighty God.
“Be still and know that he is God.”
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@rebeccahagelin.com.

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About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church (www.newlife4me.com). Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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