My mom’s side of my family, the Cephas side, is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I grew up enjoying crab cakes, oysters, Ocean City, and occasionally, Maryland basketball. Maryland served as a nice escape from the Ohio summers during my childhood. So at age 21, I naturally welcomed the idea to recreate those summer memories when a couple of friends invited me on a trip to Ocean City.
It was a large family vacation, and I was prepared to spend some time with strangers, which didn’t really bother me. However, one red flag unsettled my nerves during the drive from Ohio to Maryland. My friend told me that her grandfather had quite a few prejudices against black people, and we would be staying a night at his house in Baltimore. This information wasn’t something I had been given before packing my bags and hitting the road.
The story is too long to share all the details, but I left that trip with some new friends, one notable friend being the grandfather. He had gone most of his adult life without speaking to a person of color, and in one week, we had five mornings of coffee and conversation. Any feelings of a façade were dispelled when he wrote his granddaughter a letter thanking her for bringing me along. I was myself during that vacation, but the grandfather could have chosen not to see the authentic me as he had done with so many others over the years. The power of God’s love and truth were on that trip. When was the last time you experienced God’s power?
Lead Pastor Ben Snyder taught from John 21 over the weekend. We were reminded of Peter’s denial of Jesus and his ascension into heaven a few days later.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Peter was already feeling down. If you recall, Peter had denied Jesus, his teacher and friend, three times before he was crucified. No doubt, Peter was suffering from shame and looking for an escape, so he went fishing. And he couldn’t even find success at one of the few things that brought normalcy to his life. But God showed up and showed his power in a moment of uncertainty and doubt.
When I think back to my earlier story, I am reminded that God continues to show up in difficult and uncertain circumstances. Up to that point in my life, I had never encountered such a prejudiced adult who allowed God’s love to reverse their hatred. That day, I experienced God’s power to reveal what is true, and the experience allowed me to hope for more.
What makes God’s power personal for you? Do you drift in moments of uncertainty? Do you know your faith in God grows stronger when you recognize his work in your life?
Be open to allowing God’s work to move within you by joining a group. Attend GrowthTrack to unlock the spiritual gifts God gave you. Dive into your Bible and read the daily LIO to dispel feelings of uncertainty or shame in your life.
God, as we say goodbye to 2020, let us be reminded that it was you who brought us through a challenging year. Let our faith intensify, knowing that you will continue to navigate us through 2021. When we feel so down that our shame questions our walk as Christians, let us remember that we cannot be perfect, but through Jesus, you called us to be holy. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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