lisa arrindell's blog

You are exactly what God had in mind.

The Wrong Idea

When we are children, the ideas that we design about the world around us, make us feel safe.  I have felt safe for most of my adult life, but now, as a storm has closed in tight around me, those ideas that I’d designed, do not make me feel safe anymore. The ideas that I have wrapped myself in for warmth and protection, cannot withstand the reality of the thrashing wind and cracking thunder; they cannot protect me from the stinging rain that beats against my face. My ideas are not at all, seaworthy. Were it not for the face of Jesus, here in the midst of this great storm of sorrow, I would drown. As I grasp Him in this sea of fear and doubt, one arm around His neck the other pointlessly beating the water, I somehow notice that He… does not look as I’d imagined.

Have you ever been there?

Looking at Jesus, yet not recognizing Him? The initial disconnect for me is that He’s not moving me towards shore. We are steady staying in what looks to me to be the very center of this tumultuous ocean—no land visible; I can feel the undertow beneath us, threatening to grab my ankles and pull.  I’m wailing and crying, begging Him to save me, “Get us to shore, Jesus!” But…

He is still. He is unshaken.  And firmly planted…in the waves. He lifts my head: His fingertips, strangely warm beneath my chin, lift until my eyes meet His, and He pierces me with His stillness. As I quiet my shouts, and my breathing begins to slow, I am rapt by His gaze.  We are both still now, in the middle of the violent waves. I find myself thinking: is this how He looked when He asked Peter, “Do you love me?” (John 21:17)

As I feel His grasp around my waist, the sureness of His hold on me, I wonder if there exists anything more worthy of wanting than this moment. REAL SAFETY. My circumstances have not changed, but my focus has. Jesus is holding me in the middle of the rage, in the middle of the weight of the ocean, in the middle of my lack of knowledge and understanding, He is holding me… And it is enough.

When we are children, the ideas that we design about the world around us, make us feel safe….even if they are not true. Now I am a grown up, and the lies that I covered my eyes with, the hopes that I consumed to fill my emptiness, all ideas, no longer satisfy; they are like a raft made of rotted wood—not worthy of my weight…not to be trusted.  Storms reveal whether or not our ideas are worthy.

And what of this unrecognizable, Jesus? Shall I let go, because He doesn’t look like my idea of Him? Because He’s not rescuing me the way I think He should? I think I will grasp Him tighter still… Perhaps it is my idea of Him that needs to change.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”-Isaiah 43:2

I do not want my idea of you, Jesus, I want you.


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