Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It all starts with a pebble...

In 17 days, I will begin my 27 day Hike4Hope Journey to raise funds and awareness for Progeria Research in honor of Nathan and Bennett.  As I am making final preparations for the road ahead,  it is very easy for me to feel overwhelmed by the task.  At times, I doubt and ask myself, "What on earth were you thinking?  You don't know the first thing about hiking or backpacking and you're choosing to learn by hiking 250 miles?"  Yes, doubt and negative self talk are often a problem of mine.  In these moments, I find it helpful to step back and remind myself that this whole journey is a journey of faith.  It began with a prayer, a call, and a response; and when I said "yes" to that call, I replaced my agenda with God's agenda.  I trusted that His way is infinitely better than my way, and trust that he has equipped and will continue to equip me for the journey ahead.  A wise friend once shared with me, "When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only one of two things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly!  God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close..."
As I think back on the past few months, I find an incredible list of the ways that He has been preparing me for this journey.  He gave me many wonderful, passionate, creative and knowledgeable people, who have been absolutely instrumental in making this hike happen.  They have provided an incredible amount of encouragement and support and have also provided resources to help me select gear, determine appropriate distances for each day, have utilized their gifts to help increase public awareness about Progeria and about Nathan and Bennett, and have blanketed everything in prayer. I have been truly blessed by the people who have come along beside me to help me complete this mission.

One of my hopes from this hike is that there will be a ripple effect; that others will also be open and willing to answer as Samuel did, when they hear God calling them to action.  The way that this group of people has jumped into action has shown me that it is possible for this ripple effect to happen.  In fact, I would say that it's already begun.  I was not the original catalyst.  I am merely one small part in the ripple effect.  The catalyst to me came in the words of and through the relationships with my dear sisters in Christ on a women's retreat last October.  Each one of them may be able to tell you that the catalyst for them, came from somewhere else.  The pebble has been cast and now the endless waves of ripples have begun to spread across the water's surface.  

 Something that has always amazed me about ripples on the water's surface is the briefness of the catalyst that causes them.  One instant, one moment, a fraction of a second; that's all the time that a pebble is visible.  In the time it takes to blink, the pebble has disappeared beneath the surface and can no longer be seen.  We are left instead only with the evidence that the pebble at one, perhaps undeterminable, time broke the surface of the water.  The ripples are all that remains of the pebble, but the energy from the ripples also prove it's existence.  They move out, always away from the pebble, but at the same time point to where the pebble first struck the surface of the water.  Without the pebble being cast in the first place the ripples would not exist.  

Now, if you will, imagine that each one of us is a pebble, placed on this earth for a specific reason at a specific time.  The energy in the ripples that each one of us creates in the world around us, has tremendous power.  Those ripples have the ability to continue on into eternity.  Just look at the pebble that Jesus cast.  He was on this earth for only a short 33 years before disappearing below the surface of the water, but over two thousand years later, the ripples that went out from his pebble are still moving outward and changing the lives of countless people every minute of every day.  What if we all saw ourselves as pebbles?  What if we embraced the ripple effect and realized that everything we do has an effect, good or bad, on those around us?  What if we embraced the power in that ripple effect and channeled that power to change the world? 

I think that that's what Christ might have had in mind when he gave the great commission.  Twelve ordinary men altered the course of history and showed us the window to the Kingdom of God that Christ himself revealed.  They realized that if they could show the truth to a couple of people at a time, then God could take those people and use them to show another group, and another...  The ripples caused by the apostles, are still moving out from their pebbles, long after they slipped below the surface of the water.  The fact that the ripples that we create continue on after we depart from this life, encourages me to remember that I may never see the full effect of the ripples that I create.  I may be fortunate enough to see a small ripple effect, but it is possible and maybe even probable that I will never see the full ripple effect.  It gives me great pause and makes me think about the type of ripples of which I will be the catalyst.  Will the ripples that move out from my life help to build the Kingdom or destroy it?  Will I use my words and deeds in this life to point back to Christ, continuing the ripple effect that He started thousands of years ago?  

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the impact of the individual.  I often times find myself wondering if it really is possible for a single individual to make a difference in this world.  When I consider the ripple effect, I see that, yes, it is possible for one individual to make a difference.  Each person's ripples begin in their immediate communities and spread from there, through the lives of the other people that they interact with.  So, "let your light shine before all peoples, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).  I encourage you to embrace the ripple effect that your life has on those around you.  Let us channel the power of the ripple effect and use it to bring about the Kingdom of God.  

It all starts with a pebble...