Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are We Ready to Take God's Hand?

My thanks to Rev. Judith Schenck, for an excellent inspiration in her sermon about today's readings. First is the story of Joseph and his brothers. And the Gospel is the story of Jesus walking on the water in a storm out toward the boat, and Peter believing in Him enough to join him, for a time.

I am reminded of the story that goes around about the flood and the man who is convinced God will save him. He is visited by two sets of people in boats and a helicopter, but sends them away, because God will save him. When he dies, of course, he asks God why He didn't save him and God's puzzled response of - "I sent you two boats and a helicopter - what did you expect?" is priceless. Or the other joke about the atheist college professor who says he'll wait 15 minutes for God to smite him in order to prove He exists - and the Marine that decks him because God's busy right now and sent him.

In the midst of our daily lives, how much do we focus on the coincidences - the opportunities that we allow to pass us by because we don't trust that God might be acting through someone who can provide what we need? And how often do we pay attention to the fact that we, ourselves, may be the instrument through which God is acting?

Even in the face of the evils done to Joseph, is it not possible that God, in His infinite wisdom, wanted Joseph in another place, where he might act as His hand, extended in grace at a time of His choosing? Looking at the rather volatile history of the Christian Church, is it not possible that some of these things that occurred were to aid in spreading the news of the Christian Faith - in a way that could be accepted at the time? Would the Church have grown without the choices made, at the Council of Nicaea, for instance? While men have free will in the choices they make, can God not turn acts of ignorance or evil, into acts that will benefit His faith?

Like Peter, do we trust that God will guide us right? Or, like Peter, do we flounder in the face of our own fear of trusting in God? Are we ready to take the hand God sends us? And are we ready to be the hand God sends us to?

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