Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Floods and Fires

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you; when you walk
through fire, you shall not be
Isaiah 43:2

Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Esther, Daniel, Mary...Jesus...,Peter, Paul, Timothy–they all survived the journey from childhood to adulthood. Yet there isn’t one of them that didn’t endure a "flood" or "fire" at least one time in their lives. The truth is most of them lived through numerous encounters, with overwhelming events, that surely left them feeling soggy and charred.

Experience tells us that it takes some pain to grow up. We didn’t learn to walk without falling down or ride a bike without skinned knees. Why should it be any different growing up spiritually? Eugene Peterson says that, "growing up and growing up in Christ are the same thing." When I first heard these words twenty-five years ago I left the room completely confused. How could they possibly be the same? But with each passing year my growing up continues. And like those who have gone before me, along the way have come the "flood" and "fire" challenges that have strengthened body, soul, mind and heart.

By opening our hearts to each encounter with "flood" or "fire" the possibility of becoming more like Jesus increases. Those experiences are what will help us grow up in Christ. There is one guarantee. While this "growing up" won’t overwhelm us, there will be some “skinned knee” pain attached to it. However, no "fire" will ever consume us.

Jesus, you have power over water and fire!
I accept the floods and the fires
that will ultimately keep me
growing up in You.

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