Last Saturday God woke me up at 2 AM to pray for a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to in a very long time. As I came to from deep sleep, the words, “Sometimes showing up is the solution,” kept running through my head. I was vaguely recalling part of a dream where I was writing a blog post and those words were one of the main points. (See, dreams do come true!) My instinctual interpretation was to show up in intercession for my friend, but I also knew there was a deeper message God was bringing me once I prayed. I was wide awake by 2:45 AM, so I decided to get up and study and explore these words He’d given me. (Getting up around 3 AM is not a rare occurrence for me. I love the early morning hours of silence and solitude.)
After brewing some coffee, the search was on for a Biblical illustration of showing up as the solution to a problem. It turns out "show up" isn’t in the concordance, but to keep a long story reasonably-lengthed, I ended up studying an Old Testament passage that just happened to cross-reference the previous day's reading in our church-wide study of the book of Mark.
The reading from Mark 6 was the story of when Jesus sends the disciples out to cross the lake while he stayed back to pray. A storm comes and Jesus sees them struggling from the shore, so he walks on the water out to them where they are in the boat. Now these guys not only think they’re going to die in the storm, but they think they see a ghost because somehow they haven’t gotten the picture of Jesus really truly being God. Jesus says, “Have Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” And then he gets in their boat and the wind stops and all is well.
Jesus showing up was the solution to their crisis situation. He carried Heaven to earth and did things His way. His presence and influence overcame the natural limitations the disciples experienced as humans.
With just the flip of a page in the book of Mark, I was reading in chapter 8 about the guys freaking out because they forgot to bring enough food in the boat with them. Jesus is sitting right there and they had just seen him feed 5,000 men and their families and the 4,000 men and their families and now they’re panicking because they didn’t bring enough food! I love that Jesus reacts with the same sense of “Seriously, dudes?” that I felt when I read Jesus’ review of His miraculous provision of food with them.
It’s so humbling and humiliating to identify as a disciple when I read about them being so thick-headed… But sheesh… We are just like them.
I wonder how many miracles we miss because we forget that Jesus is with us and look at things with earthly perspective instead of showing up and dropping Heaven on the thing.
On Sunday, our family went to lunch after church and there were three single people who met us there; one of my best friends and two guys that attend a weekly Bible study with my husband, Joel. We couldn’t all be seated together because the place was crazy crowded so our family sat together and the three of them sat a few tables away. While our family was eating I thought several times, “We should pay for their meal,” but I didn’t speak up to my husband because we’re keeping things tight as we prepare to move and, he won’t mind me saying this, historically generosity isn’t really his… gifting, we could say.
At this restaurant, you take your bill to a counter to settle up so Joel took our bill and went to pay while we waited at the table. When he came back he said, “I paid for their lunch. It was crazy, I just grabbed their bill as I walked by their table. It was like an out of body experience. I don’t even really remember doing it.”
I promptly started freaking out, “What?! I was thinking we should do that but didn’t say anything because I assumed you’d remind me of all our upcoming expenses and shut it down!!! I love this!!! You are amazing!!!"
I was so touched that we were both prompted to do the same thing, but that God let it play out exactly the way He wanted it to go down. I think God knew it needed to be Joel’s idea and experience and blessed us both with confirmation through my being prompted as well. I see how God blessed Joel, and me, with the utter joy of generosity and connection in the Spirit. The same joy that I bet Jesus experienced when he miraculously provided lunch for thousands of people multiple times. Or more wine for the wedding party, or healing for the sick, or salvation for all mankind… Okay, maybe that was a different level of joy, but you get me.
Jesus was the embodiment of Heaven on earth. When He left, He gave us His spirit, which is in each of us who believe. We literally carry Heaven wherever we go. We have the same Power that Jesus had as He walked on earth to drop Heavenly solutions onto earthly problems. By showing up we become the solution. God uses us to provide for each other's needs and He provides for our needs through His Spirit at work in others. There is great joy to be had by all as we allow His Heavenly influence to flow through us.