December 2017
Simple Times

I’m out of the boat ...

 

It’s that time of year again.

Most folks are concentrating on a small baby in a manger.

Some churches’ Christmas plays tell the Gospel story from the manger to the cross, but it’s the Nativity Story that takes precedence throughout most of the western world for most of December.

And another baby is also featured as the month and the year winds to an end; the Baby New Year comes on the scene as the Old New Year tottles on into the history books.

But, of course, I’m different.

No one who knows me and my simple life will likely be surprised. While most everybody else is concentrating on the Nativity Story in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, I’m out of the boat with Peter over in Matthew 14: 22-34.

Of course I will be celebrating Christmas with my family like everybody else, and I love all the joy and love the season represents.

And as far as Baby New Year escorting out old Father Time 2017, I’ll likely tell that baby to wait just a minute and let me express thanks for the Year 2017 and what joy it has brought me.

This was a milestone year for me in way more ways than one.

I turned 65 back in May; that is a birthday kind of like turning 13 and becoming a teenager, or turning 16 and getting to drive a car; or turning 21 and finally feeling like you have REALLY become an adult.

And while some folks may think 65 is ushering in the declining years of one’s life, it’s been nothing like that for me!

As far as years go, 2017 has been to this point the most outstanding year of my life!

I’ve found the love of my life after all these years. Sometimes it just takes 50 years for people to realize what is really important in their lives ...

So the year 2017 has been a ground-breaking, blessed, wonderful year in many, many ways ...

But nothing is EVER easy or simple in my life, of course!

Along with all the blessings and wonderful occurrences, there’s been a big share of trials and tribulations to balance things out!

So that’s why I’m splashing around outside that boat with Peter instead of kneeling at the manger ...

Peter was a pretty ordinary man. He must have been, at least, a little successful because he owned his own fishing boat. He was married because Jesus later healed his mother-in-law. I’m not sure if he had any children or not but he seemed to have been just an ordinary working man supporting his family. Likely a ruddy, outspoken man who wasn’t afraid to defend what was his.

In the Book of Acts, we see that Peter was an "uneducated common" man whose courage and great acts could only be explained because he had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Peter went from denying Christ three times after Jesus was arrested to preaching a sermon where over 3,000 men became Christians at one time – so what happened and why am I thrashing around in the sea in the water with him???

In Matthew 14:22-34 (now this is described in Suzy-language, not quoted verbatim from any translation from the original Greek!), Peter and the other disciples were going across the sea in a boat because Jesus had told them to go on while He dispersed a large crowd He had been speaking to.

A storm came up. As they traveled on, they saw someone, perhaps a ghost, walking toward them … actually walking on the water.

When they realized it was Jesus, Peter asks the Lord to let him come to Him.

So brave, often rash, Peter hops out of the boat and almost immediately begins to sink when he starts looking at the crashing waves and high winds instead of looking toward Jesus.

First of all, the boat containing all the disciples was in a storm, EVEN THOUGH they were going exactly where Jesus told them to go!

Most folks of faith believe Jesus will help us through the storms of life, but they often fail to notice that sometimes the storms are caused when we step out in faith as Jesus asks us too.

Peter had all the initial courage he needed. As long as he had his eyes on Jesus, he walked out right on top of the water, held up by the Lord’s strength.

But as soon as he started looking at the storms and taking his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink!

And this is why I’ve been bobbing around in the water with Peter much of the last half of 2017!

A very wonderful teacher and elder at my new church, Bro. Wayne Brannon, started me thinking about this as he began a study of 1 Peter on Wednesday nights and referred back to that section in Matthew. (Bro. Wayne and his wife recently celebrated their 62nd year of marriage and KNOW the importance of faith!)

As I’ve faced troubles and trials during the last few months, I analyze, question and try to figure things out for myself, and I start SINKING just as Peter did!

I have to remind myself of how God stood with me over five years ago when my husband died after a lengthy, lengthy heartbreaking series of illnesses.

How God stood by me when there were four other major family calamities the very week of my husband’s funeral.

How God stood by me through those long months of not only heartbreak but financial troubles and more.

No, I forget too quickly that God has continually stood there through the storms and ALL I HAVE TO DO IS LOOK TO HIM!

While Peter might be looked at as failing because he took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink, he KNEW where his help would come from!

As our study so aptly explains, "True believers know who to turn to when we sink!!!"

So I will be celebrating the birth of that baby in the manger later this month.

But I am celebrating even more the man who that baby became.

In Mark 10, we learn how great trials often accompany great blessings and that’s where I’m standing!

This simple, country homesteader may be a bit more wrinkled and gray, BUT I’m still learning: learning not to analyze everything that happens in my life AND not to PANIC when I start sinking because I’ve taken my eyes off my Savior once again.

So I’ll be celebrating Christmas with a new zeal this year.

And if you see me panic and start sinking during the next few weeks, don’t worry and don’t try to toss me a lifejacket: just watch as I turn my eyes back toward my Savior – that child who once was in a manger – and I’ll be fine!

***

From everyone at the Old Field Farm in Blount County, have a Merry Christmas and peace-filled New Year.

 

Suzy Lowry Geno can be reached on Facebook or through her website at www.taitsgapstore.com.