On The Way (to the other side)
August 13, 2018
Verse for the Week: Mark 4:35; “On that day, when evening came, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’”
What is on the other side anyway?
Follow the yellow brick road… Follow the yellow brick road…follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road…
You can hear the tune, can’t you? Make’s you want to click your sparkly red heels together and dream of what’s on the other side. The places of possibility. The places of purpose.
Although the yellow brick road isn’t in the Bible, it is a great visual for our topic this week because most of us have seen the movie and can relate to the yearning for what’s on the other side. Especially as we travel around-and-around life’s deepest questions to the other side of a move, a new job, a relationship, or a big decision.
Although there’s no place like home as Dorothy so eloquently quips, our ‘home’ can be found in many different places. Home is often a place of comfort, familiarity, safety. At least that’s what we want ‘home’ to be. And it’s what we yearn for when difficulty comes in like a tornado and leaves us wandering in a peculiar land of uncertainty.
Truth is our ultimate home is in heaven. That is our final destination. The coup de grâce—the last stroke of grace that delivers us safely to the other side of this life.
Even so, this side of life is lived ‘on the way’ to where we are going because the lessons we are to learn are only exposed on the journey’s we choose to charter. Strangely, these lessons are often exposed in the dark places of doubt. It’s there, in the dark night, where the light of faith shines brightest, and the heartiest fruit is grown.
Our scripture verse this week is Jesus’ call to action. It came just after appointing the twelve disciples and teaching them about the kingdom of heaven through the parables of the sower, the soil, and the seed.
With knowledge and insight under their belt, they accepted the assignment. But when they hopped in the boat and set out on their journey to the other side with Jesus, the euphoria of the moment was sidelined by a strong and fierce storm. As it raged, it tested the seed that had just been planted in their hearts and minds.
Not only in Mark 4 do we see the testing of faith in answering a call to the other side of something, but we see it again Mark 6: 45-52. It happened after the miracle of feeding the five thousand. The disciples were sent ahead of Jesus to Bethsaida. Once again, they had witnessed a miracle and received a planting of seed needed for the journey ahead.
Verse 47-48, “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”
Our life journeys are no different. We tend to battle one big obstacle after another, recovering from one hit only to find the next one is on the way. We zig and zag the dangers lurking in dark corners, and react in defense with our best block. Nevertheless, the hits just keep on coming, and we find ourselves in the middle of the mess straining against the wind.
Did you notice the reference in the scripture above to being in the middle of the lake?
Part of the adventure of going to the other side is what happens in the middle. It’s in the middle when our emotions tend to get messy, and we question what once was against what could be. It’s right there, in the middle of the mess—in the darkness of doubt—that we yearn for the comforts and predictability of the past. We look back and wonder ‘what if’? What if I go back? Or, what if I don’t?
Most epic figures of the Bible encounter this very same dilemma. David saw the Philistines standing on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them (1 Samuel 17:3). Here, David found himself in the messy middle. The taunting had reached a haunting pitch, and he knew he had a choice to make in that moment—go big or go home.
The Bible is full of messy middles. Israel’s journey across the Jordan to the Promised Land. Ruth’s journey through loss to purpose. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Daniel, in the lion’s den. Jonah, in the belly of the whale. Peter in prison. Rahab’s risk to hang the scarlet thread for freedom. Mary, wearing personal shame to reveal divine honor. Paul, who became blind in order to see. Joseph, from the pit to the palace. And Jesus, from the cross to Glory.
What do all these people have in common? Bravery. They faced their fear, seeing beyond the messy middle to receive that which was planned long ago. These accounts teach us important lessons learned on the way to the other side.
Yet, one thing is true—we are never really sure what is on the other side until we get there, when our feet tread the pavement of the purpose awaiting our arrival. That’s the beauty of bravery, and every warrior has the mark of it.
Like these mighty men and women of faith, our journey will not be one of comfort, familiarity, or even safety. It will be one of challenge. One where courage will be a requirement. We will face deep fears that will only be appeased by faith and by applying the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
Buried deep within our heart is a yearning for what our eyes can only dream is possible. We sense the euphoria of hope that lives on the other side of a decision only to question where and when to take that initial step forward.
It’s in the messy middle that we see obstacles in the winds of adversity. Yet God sees opportunity and growth. There is a life-changing principle to be found when you can see beyond the here and now into the then and there. It’s called faith. And yet, in order to find it, we must take that first beautiful, brave step.
Do you hear the call? I believe your boat is waiting.
Lord God, make me brave. Bid me to step into the boat and embrace the adventure you have for me on the way to the other side of your grace, your goodness, and your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
It’s time to go big or go home. Time to get busy living. You have an epic adventure ahead. Don’t get distracted from your destiny because there is a journey you are being called to. It’s time to get in the boat with Jesus and cross over.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed as you embrace the journey ahead. Bravery is beautiful on you!