my friend had graciously help me wheel six flats of water bottles through costco until parking our cart in the food court. we sat down to our slices of pizza. a few minutes turned into a few hours as we talked about relationships, our callings, our families, and faith.
we discussed how sometimes we focus on the wrong part of a scripture story.
take peter for example; he and the other disciples had sought refuge on a ship while jesus was left alone to pray. the savior chooses to rejoin them in an unconventional way, by walking on the water. peter asks to join the master, steps out of the ship, onto the water, and walks. whenever i hear this story retold in sunday school students are quick to dismiss this miraculous feat. instead, they call out peter for being doubtful – they love to focus on the fact peter sank. i think we need to be celebrating the fact that he was the only disciple who had a desire to walk on the water and who acted on that desire and stepped out of the ship. no one else stepped out of that ship into the boisterous waves.
and then there is moses. i think we take for granted what he did to free his people. who am i that i should go to pharaoh? he was not a gifted speaker, and yet, in his frailty he was called to lead his people. all the plagues he brought down on egypt were fantastical and make for a good story but we forget he did not aspire to that responsibility. we also overlook the fact that he was just a man. i imagine him at the red sea, possibly taking a few steps in to that raging water, with an army fast approaching. sometimes i wonder if he was afraid. did he feel defeated in that moment? did he see the vast water and wonder, what now!? despite that, he persevered and called down a miraculous act of god that parted the sea.
and young david. we speak of this young man who slew the giant goliath. but i think if we only speak of his victory in the battle we miss the point. it wasn’t by chance that david found himself there at that moment. he had been well prepared. he knew how to hunt with his sling. he had most likely killed wild beasts. the victory isn’t found in the killing – but it is found in the bravery of that young man to step forward. to volunteer. much like esther he had been prepared for such a time as that.
as we were lost in our discussion a cute couple next to us leaned over. the wife interjected in a familiar accent, you girls need to join our bible study group! her invitation was direct, but not intrusive, it was loving. we chatted about their international study group that meets at a local evangelical church. she explained how they spend a whole year studying one book of the bible. we compared which bible versions we used. she mentioned people from all faiths attend. well, i don’t think we have any buddhists! the husband interjected, chuckling a little bit. i asked where the woman was originally from. brazil, recife. we spoke in portuguese and i explained i had been in brazil serving as a missionary for my church.
we wished our new friends tchao. and i laughed thinking that they probably would not have been as interested in our conversation at the beginning when we were talking about polygamy!