I’M OVER HERE!

OVER_HEREOnce, the ship of my life started taking on water. I immediately began to address the problem by praying fervently and bailing frantically. But I could not keep the water from rising or the ship from sinking. Seeing that I was knee deep in sea water, I waved my hands wildly and shouted for help loudly in hopes of getting God’s attention. Then I got back to my panicked bailing, only to discover that I was now waist deep in sea water.

This is how it went until the ship of my life–the S.S. Holey Vessel—went down. I survived on the open seas by clinging to driftwood for many days until I happened upon a desert island. I made myself as comfortable as possible on this inhospitable patch of land, assessing my available provisions and calculating how long I might survive without rescue. While watching my rations dwindle, I prayed anxiously until I grew desperate. In a panic, I gathered some sticks and spelled out H-E-L-P on the sand, and proceeded to wave my arms wildly at God while yelling at Him:

“I’M OVER HERE! I NEED SOME HELP OVER HERE!

At last, I was overcome with exhaustion. I collapsed in the sand and lay motionless, still as a stone. Then, in the silence, I heard a whisper.  I heard a gentle, quiet voice saying:

“Dave, I’m over here. I’m working over here. Come join Me in what I am doing.”

That was the dawning of a great realization for me and the beginning of a brand new approach to living. Instead of calling upon God to help me form and execute my mid-range and long term plans for my life, God wanted me to see His plan as He reveals it to me in the unfolding moments of my life. And He wanted me to participate in His plan as He showed it to me.  The Spirit was calling Me to be present with Him–as He is present with me–and to be continually attentive and receptive to Him. Jesus calls it abiding.

This dude now abides—with Jesus.

Jeanne Takenaka recently reminded me that God is often working in places and ways that we would not ordinarily expect. His agenda is not something we can assume or predict. We have to be constantly looking for it, and we have to stay continually open to it. Because there is no better place to be than where God is already working.

During the whole shipwreck episode it seems that both God and I were trying to get the other’s attention. I tried to get God’s attention by making a lot of racket. God succeeded in getting my attention by waiting patiently for me to quiet down. I realize now that being quiet is my first priority.

So, I don’t make as much racket these days. Instead, I listen expectantly,  waiting to hear the Spirit’s gentle whisper: “Dave, I’m over here. Come join Me.”

10 thoughts on “I’M OVER HERE!

  1. So, so familiar with the whole, “Hey, I’m over here!!” routine. It led to exhaustion — and then I could finally hear God say, “You ready to listen? I’ve got some things to say that you need to hear.”
    And Jeanne? I’ve had the pleasure of her friendship for years … she’s a woman of faith & wisdom.

  2. Thanks for the mention, Dave. And Beth!

    I’ve definitely been on the “Jeanne agenda” boat before, and God’s waited oh, so patiently for me to come to the end of myself and be ready to hear His plans for me. They’re almost always different, and better than anything I tried to carry out. Usually a lot less heartache too. 🙂

    Great post today, Dave!

    • Jeanne, I’ve upgraded your “mention” by correcting the spelling of your name! (TAKENAKA). I apologize for the error in the first edit.Thank you for your compliments and thank you for your contributions to the post today 🙂

  3. Hi Dave. My wife directed me to your blog and I’ve been reading a few posts. This one and wanted dead and alive, have really touched a nerve with me. I think maybe I am still treading water, have been for some time now, but I am getting exhausted and feel like I might be going under for the last time. Up until today I guess I thought that was a bad thing. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s not easy to “let go and let God” but I’ve got a feeling that I don’t really have a choice. Thanks for your blog and keep up the great work.

    • Hello, Graham! Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about your life as you are experiencing it now. I am very familiar with exhaustion–and frustration, confusion, disorientation, disillusionment, depression, and a sinking sense of hopelessness. I’ve found that God is patient and wise in His use of unhurried process to uncover our deepest longing to know Him intimately, to experience heart-transforming, life-changing, relational encounter with Him. My sense is that you are right. Finding yourself exhausted from treading water is not a bad thing. It can be the beginning of a very good thing. In my experience, God’s processes have been painful and slow, but He has brought real healing to my soul and has been changing me from the inside out. I am beginning to learn how to cooperate with God as He works in my life and to participate with Him in the work He’s doing. Thank you for your encouragement today, Graham. Again, my sense is that–although the path may be difficult-you are going to love where God is taking you on your journey to a deeper relational knowledge of Him.

  4. Thanks Dave. There’s something about the words that you write that makes me feel like maybe we are kindred spirits. Modern technology is amazing that it allows us to connect with people all over the world. I only wish you were just around the corner, rather than on the other side of the globe. I’d really love to buy you a beer, or a coffee, whichever would be your preference 🙂 and have a good heart to heart.
    I guess it’s the being patient and waiting on God that is one of the hardest things. We live in such an instant society, that we can very easily expect God to answer straight away, but so often God’s time is not the same as ours. At the ripe old age of 45, and having been a Christian for about 30 of them, I find myself on the one hand, wanting to know what the “second half” of my life will look like and desiring to embrace all that God has, whatever it looks like and on the other hand, being scared stiff to let go of what I have always known. I guess these are the waters I have been treading for some time now. I know my stubbornness and fears are getting in the way – this dying to self stuff isn’t easy.
    Thanks for reading.
    Your brother in Christ in Australia – Graham F.

    • I would enjoy having a Fosters with you and sharing our experiences. There certainly do seem to be some similarities in our stories. I am sure that there is more to life–eternal life, abundant life, intimate knowing of the Father and the Son by the Spirit–than either of us has enjoyed so far.So, here’s to the second half 🙂 I understand well the fear of dying to self, but, as I recently told someone, I was afraid to die, but now I’m dancing on my grave. I don’t make light of your struggle. Not at all. I just want to encourage us both to embrace death so we can experience real life. Your brother in Christ in the USA–Dave

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