During orientation week at seminary, the administrators stated that there are three groups of people who come to seminary: those who know what they want to do after seminary, those who have no idea where they are going after seminary, and those who think they know now but will leave with a very different idea. Even as I reflected on my own life, particularly over the last eight years, the most formative experiences and things I enjoyed, such as interning in Kauai and Estonia, participating on a speech and debate team, and learning Greek and Hebrew exegesis, were not what I had expected to treasure (or even do). Acknowledging the unexpectedness of life from my perspective, where am I to focus and what am I to do as I seek to move forward?
The story in Matthew 14 of Jesus and Peter walking on the water continues to be an encouragement to me during these early weeks in seminary. As I pondered this passage on a recent retreat and also read over the passage directly preceding it of Jesus feeding the five thousand, the image of rowing came to mind. Instead of needing to know exactly where I am going after seminary, throughout my adult life, or even knowing what will happen later today, I, as a rower, am called to sit facing the rear where one, Christ, is calling out the strokes for all those in the boat. I can see where Christ has brought me, I can hear the stories of those rowing beside me, and I can know what Christ has ultimately done for me and how He calls me to respond.
The disciples had thought they had reached the limit of their abilities and there was nothing more they could do for the large and hungry crowd. Jesus, moving past their attempt to say the day was over, told them to continue serving the crowd. When they cited their limited resources, Jesus requested that they give what they had to him and through their obedience He performs a miracle they didn't expect. The disciples were not required to know exactly what Jesus would do with what they offered to him, they were called to obey in hope and love.
Do we focus to much on trying to bend in awkward ways to try to glimpse where we are going, instead of setting our attention firmly on Christ and digging into where we currently are?