Feeling the power of God’s presence

Last fall I had the opportunity to go sailing with a group of high school students. One night there was a big storm, and during my hour-long shift in the middle of the night keeping watch at the anchor, I unintentionally left my sleeping bag open. When I returned to my spot to go back to sleep, I found a cold pool of water in my bag—and there was no chance of it drying out anytime soon. I gave up trying to go to sleep and spent the rest of the night sitting against the mast. 

At first, I couldn’t stop thinking, “I want to be warm, I want to be dry; I want to be warm, I want to be dry.” Suddenly, though, I started thinking about Christ Jesus and his teachings. I thought Jesus and his disciples would probably have been quite familiar with this sort of situation! The New Testament describes more than one occasion where they experienced a storm while on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, however, didn’t teach how to find material respite from the storms that brew in our lives, literally or figuratively. Instead, he urged his followers to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” following this with the promise “and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

This idea of seeking the kingdom of God first—before anything else—really struck me. Did Jesus’ instruction mean that instead of ruminating over how much I desired a warm sleeping bag, I should spend my time seeking the presence of the kingdom of God? And then—what? God would somehow dry out my sleeping bag? 

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No dead ends
July 15, 2019

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