You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re look forward to: total salvation.
–I Peter 1:8-9 MSG
Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is a mystery to me. Who was he as a person? How did he respond to the circumstances of his life? He had a plan–he was getting married. Then he wasn’t. Then he did.
Did he love Mary? Did the scandal bother him? Did he view Jesus as his own? What about the upheaval to his life, the uncertainty? Three times the angel said, “Go here and wait until I tell you it’s safe to leave.” Did he strain under his calling?
These kinds of struggles are where resistance is born. Anxiety, anger, and pride wake up when we are distressed. Where would we have seen resistance to God’s movement in Joseph? Was it there? Where do you see it in you?
Six years ago, I tried to learn how to scuba dive in four feet of water. The first lesson was to learn how to sink! “Relax! Give yourself to the water.” The instructor used everything from metaphor to a hand on my back to hold me under (with mask and breathing tank) as I tried really hard to relax. Have you ever tried to calm down and loosen up when you’re fairly certain you’re going to die? I’m pretty sure I looked in the water like a caught fish looks on a ship’s deck–floppy, twitchy and gasping for air. Then I got the giggles because I felt so embarrassed. So now I’m a floppy, twitchy, giggling mass trying desperately to sink underneath the water. I managed to stay under for 30 seconds out of an hour of trying.
I missed the wonder of life underwater because I couldn’t bring myself to trust the equipment. I got glimpses of what it could be like…and, in the end, settled for glimpses because that “other world” required me to give over control, becoming completely dependent on things I didn’t fully understand. Sound familiar?
If “wonder” is the road to living “freely and lightly” as Jesus describes (which we will talk about in coming posts), then resistance to God’s movement is the big roadblock that gets in our way.
How interesting that the symbol of following Christ is baptism…going under the water to symbolize death to self and coming up again new…remade…able to live with resurrection power, desire, identity, and purity. In light of our floppy, twitchy responses, it is a wonder God invites us to immerse in Him, to know the fullness of a different kind of life…one we never thought was really possible. We get to choose what we want…glimpses in shallow water with distant views or immersion out in the mysterious deep. Can you see the twinkle in His eyes as He holds out His hand to us (scared, angry fish that we are) and says, “Come on out. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
ACTION: What does your resistance look like? If you were living in resurrection energy, what would that look like? Would that be different than how you live now?