Reaching for the Light


My petite five-foot nothing frame lends itself to reach. Reaching. Stretching. Constantly.

There are so many days when I have thought the whole world would be at my finger tips if only...! If only I was a little bit taller. Just a few more inches and I could reach and obtain what I needed without so much effort exerted.

I imagine I am not alone in saying that reaching - the struggle to lean forward into something, to be stretched beyond how far we want to go - is not comfortable.

Reaching is consistent and matter-of-fact part of life. Reaching shows up not just in the physical. Nope. It is ever present in spiritual life as well.

With all my might I push and try to make things happen. I try to reach and grab what I believe is mine to have. I go after, run hard, exert all the will power and discipline I can muster on my own.

3 questions come to mind as I evaluate this state I find myself in all too often.

1.) What am I reaching for?

2.) Why am I straining so hard to get what it is I am after?

3.) Once I have it, then what? Is what I am reaching for going to satisfy me?

Mark 6:48 gave me some perspective on this struggle I often face, "He (Jesus) saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake."

The disciples on the Sea of Galilee battled against the fierce winds and storms that raged on the waters. They fought, they strained. They even worked together as a team. They strained to survive the storm. They fought to make it through the next wave that was about to crash over the bow of the boat. Yet they did not reach out or call out to Jesus.

What I find fascinating is that Jesus watched them struggle from the coastline. He watched them work themselves into a tired tizzy of worry and panic. Jesus let them struggle. He knew he could calm the storm with a word. But he needed them to know he could calm the storm with a word.

On this side of the story, thousands of years later, I can read this story and get so annoyed with the denseness of the disciples though process - or lack thereof. Yet, as I reflect, I find I am not different from the disciples in my own thought process.

Sometimes I am so focused on what I am reaching for, battling in my own strength, instead of calling for help. There are so many times when I have broken dishes or climbed upon the counter to grab something from the top cabinets I cannot reach from the ground.

There have been times when Marshall, my husband, comes in right behind me, reaches over my head and gives me help, handing me exactly what I was straining so hard to reach on my own.

And still yet there are times when Marshall will stand in the background, watching me struggle to reach for something. Not because he is mean or unhelpful. But because he wants me to learn to ask for help. Sadly, there are a lot of days when my hunger for independence, for doing things my way and on my own, blinds me to see that help has been there all along.

I believe Christ works with his followers, the same way. He knows when he needs to step in and give reprieve from straining, showing up grace up grace. And I believe there are times, like with the disciples, he watches from afar to see just how long we want to face the battle alone, straining and striving in our own strength.

There is a lot to glean from this one verse. The character and heart of Jesus, and the stubbornness of man are portrayed impeccably.

If you are in a state today of reaching, I want you to find time to pause and consider the three questions I asked myself:

1.) What am I reaching for?

2.) Why am I straining so hard to get what it is I am after?

3.) Once I have it, then what? Is what I am reaching for going to satisfy me?

And a fourth, why is it so hard to ask for help from God or others?

Finally, consider, what would have happened in the storm on the Sea of Galilee if the disciples asked for help?

#light #straining #reaching #striving #Mark648 #disciples #help

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