A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Hannah Walks On Water!

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
Miracles happen all around us.
I just didn't expect one in my backyard.
I am a great believer that if we have eyes to see,
we can see the miraculous work of the Divine One all around us.
Geese flying in impeccable symmetry
speak of the One who has ordered this world into perfect precision.
The delivery of a new born baby,
reminds of how amazingly the gift of life is passed from one to another.
A unique and exquisite sunset to end the day
proclaims that the Creator is still creating.
Miracles happen in many forms and places,
always catching our breath and catching us by surprise.
Hannah is a 46 pound yellow Labrador.
In the two months since she came to live in the home,
she has grown from 25 pounds to 48 pounds.
Although she is beginning to look like more like a dog than a pup,
she still has plenty of puppy in her.
And like her Biblical namesake,
she is filled with passion and beauty.
There is nothing that she doesn't become passionate about,
that is when she sees it......
pine cones, sticks, insects, seat cushions,
anything within sight becomes something worthy of passionate exploration.
That's why the swimming pool in the back yard was a concern.
Labs are after all, water dogs.
They seek water out like a sojourner in the desert.
Two accidental spills into the water during her first days in her new home,
caused Hannah to be very intimidated by the pool.
So much so, that she would intentionally steer clear of the pool edge.
It seemed the pool was not a source of intrigue anymore for the beautiful and passionate Hannah.
That was, until I covered the pool for the winter.
While doing some lawn work last week,
I heard a wimper.
When I turned around,
there was Hannah frozen in fear,
standing on the pool cover.She had traversed six feet from the pool edge
and now realized she couldn't get back to the deck.
Hannah was literally walking on water.
But she was beginning to doubt.
I remember how Jesus walked on water,
and how Peter followed suit,
that is until he took his eyes off the Master,
Hannah must have been paying attention during Bible Story time
as she now became Peter crying out for her Master.
This Master, not being the Lord of the universe,
had no idea what to do.
Hannah was too far into the pool to reach by hand.
Her 48 pounds was just enough weight to slowly begin pulling the pool cover
and the water bag anchors toward the pool center.
Hannah was slowly beginning to sink
and quickly beginning to panic.
Hannah was now on the Titanic
and the ship was most certainly going down.
The long handle pool brush might have worked to reach her
and nudge her to the edge
but there wasn't time to retrieve it from the garage.
And so this Master did what any master would do.......
go into rescue mode.
One week prior,
as I was closing the pool,
I thought that was the last time I would be in the pool until next year.
Seven days earlier, the water was a balmy 52 degrees.
She hadn't gotten any warmer since then.
Now this master has been known to do a polar bear plunge or two in his lifetime,
just usually with a bit more mental and physical preparation.
But in a moment of crisis,
there is little time to think.
With the grace of God
to remind me to first take my cell phone out of my pocket,
I shredded my outer garments,
pulled the closest water bag anchor off the cover,
and hopped into the Arctic Seas of my backyard.
One might be tempted to sing Titanic songs in such a situation,
but one finds quickly finds that one cannot sing,
because one cannot breathe.
But one can reach and extend one's arms
to grab the paws of a frightened pet.
I drew Hannah towards me
and hoisted her in the air.
Let me say that in the moment of hoisting,
I discovered that a wet dog weighs considerably more than a dry dog.
Wet dog Hannah reached the deck and quickly scampered away
from the black hole of the backyard pool.
Master quickly followed suit.
Nothing follows up the miracle of a dog walking on 52 degree water
better than some warm towels and cocoa.
Once Hanna and Master were healed of hypothermia (another miracle),
Master went out to restore the pool cover to its original state.
After a few minutes,
Hannah came out to the deck to reflect...........
reflect on what a good master she has........
reflect on how her life could have been taken from her that day.........
reflect why her prize toy was laying in the middle of the pool cover........
None of us know when a miracle will come into our lives,
that is the nature of miracles.
What we do know, if we know the Master,
is that He is more than capable
of miraculously intervening in our lives.
Sometimes it is through the activity of a stranger,
sometimes it is through a brother or sister in the faith,
sometimes it is in the sequence of unexplainable events.
Maybe we can't count on miracles happening ever day.
But what every believer can count on,
is that in the moment of need,
even if that need is surrounded by doubt and fear,
the Master is there to reach out His hand,
and bring us to a safe place.
With eyes that communicate in that special language that only a dog can,
Hannah implored Master to retrieve her toy.
And with a voice that only an exhausted Master can summon,
Master said,
Let's go get the long handle pool brush
and see what miracle can happen next.
But seeing the wind, Peter became afraid,
and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand, and took hold of him,
and said to Him
"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
Matthew 14: 30-32

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