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  • Writer's pictureDoug Burroughs

The Contrarian Nature of the Kingdom (or how to walk on water)

I awoke three nights ago from a very vivid and strange dream.

Stay with me, because I believe the Lord was communicating something to me and ultimately to all of us.

In the the dream there was a gigantic ice wall that all of us were climbing. Instead of cramp ons being attached to our feet, they were attached to our knees. Cramp ons are those cleats that attach normally to boots to kick into the ice to grip it. Many were inquiring why the change in the dream and were told that they would help in the grip of the climb. Now, this may not seem weird to you, but I have never had a dream like this, no, not even when we were in subterranean temperatures last week!

Well, I awoke straight way out of this scene in my dream and as I was waking up, I heard the Lord whisper into my consciousness, "Being on your knees is the most stable position in this time." Just like that, in a moment He clarified the positional stance in this hour of incredible, chaotic changes taking place in our world - prayer.

I have lived on this planet for 60 trips around the sun and have never seen anything like the social challenges happening in the midst of a once stable culture. From the instability of the election, to the aftermath of fires, riots, protests over the course of the last year to the presidential decrees changing abortion funding, and so many other things, to the new proposed law called the equality act which would put LGBTQ rights above hetero-sexual and remove the voice of the Word of God from the churches, we are witnessing change on a scale that has not been matched since the horrible scars of the 60's and 70's.

In the midst of all this demonic and self serving chaos, the Lord says, "pray", not as a desperation move, but as a connection strategy in this time.

Let me illustrate it from Peter walking on the water.

Imagine being in an environment you are extremely familiar with and being scared out of your mind because something is happening that should not and does not belong logically and naturally in that setting. You see a figure, astonishingly walking on the water. Some of your compatriots state their conclusion, "It's a ghost". But in the midst of the cacophony of the wind, waves and water lashing at the boat, you hear a voice saying, "Don't be afraid, it is I". Your exclamation was, it is Jesus! So you test the situation. "If it is really you, ask me to come to you." "Come." A simple and profound reply. One word. Laws of nature, be set aside. Fear, growing like a giant in your "safe space" of the boat, pushed off in a moment by one word, "Come".

So what do you do when a simple command, really an invitation is offered that is counter intuitive to everything you see, hear, feel, sense and know?

Peter threw his legs over the side of the boat, let himself onto the surface of the water and came. Tentatively at first and then with some freedom he walked on the water. The Bible does not record what those first steps were like. It does not say what Peter's response was or even what Jesus did or said. It must have been a moment. Two figures doing what no one else had ever done, walking on water. There were contrarian to everything around them, a stark reminder that the "laws" of that moment were being broken and the two figures on the water did not care. They were the representation of what could be, of what should be, when everything else pointed to a different reality that kept eleven other men in the supposed safety of their wooden vessel. Boats sink all the time. Wind and waves wreck the vessels, but we put faith in them to carry us on the water. What Peter did was wild, reckless, full of faith and chutzpah and more than anything he had ever done heretofore. So, let's savor those few steps that were begun in a faith response to a relationship with Jesus in the midst of the difficult reality surrounding the decision.

Now, put yourself out there. You are walking on a sea that no one outside of Jesus has ever walked on. You know the environment like the back of your hand, but never from this perspective. Everything looks a little different, the boat, Jesus himself, the shore, the wind, the waves. A gust of icy wind pushes forcefully at your center of balance, and it takes you from the euphoria of kingdom obedience into the circumstantial present. You see them, wind and waves. They grow larger in your mental space that was just recently filled with the bliss of obedience and possibilities. Wind, waves, the "real" sea. Wind, waves, the "lords" of this domain. Wind, waves, swallowing Peter and me.

Only a quick prayer can be prayed in that moment. Nothing churchy, fancy or well placed theologically. As you body is consumed in the rough waters, you blurt out, "Lord, save me!", with the last word muffled by the inky, cold blackness that swallowed the majority of your corporal frame.

Instantly, a hand shoots into the water, a hand like a shaft of light in the midst of a terrible storm. A hand that reverses what was a sure and bitter end to an adventure in faith. It grabs you and pulls you upright to a face that is smiling, never worried, confused or shaming. You are pulled out of your recently sized watery grave to the person of Jesus! Walking together, you cross the distance you had previously travelled alone in response to faith, now in a tandem of trust. You have walked on water alone to Jesus and back with Jesus!

How does this relate to my dream?

God has been and is continuing to do impossible things all around us. We have difficulty seeing them at times with all the chaos, noise and vitriol this world system can muster as it moves about trying to extinguish the living expression of Jesus in the world. In times like these, it can be understood that people seeing God at work would be interpreted almost "phantom-like", echoes of what might be there, what once was there but is no longer. Some are losing their faith in the ability of a God who has show us that no plan or scheme of man or devil can stop Him. This one called to us and we came.

But, wind and waves of our "reality" have clouded our faith judgement and have many sinking. In this moment a call to prayer is needed! Not a long, theological prayer, but simply, "Lord, help us!" is an amazing start! Watch as we seek His face for the flash of a hand, reaching into our inky blackness and pulling us up, to not go through this alone, but to walk in a relationship tandem together. We cannot traverse this landscape alone. The enemy's schemes are all around, but they are not what we are to focus on. Our focus is our connection. Where we place that focus is what we will be influenced and in the end, dominated by.

I only know of one dominion I want to be a part of, the Kingdom of God. There is only one way to be a part of that, in intimate fellowship with Jesus, the King of the dominion. Where He is, whatever was there has to bow and submit to the "King's Dominion". This circumstance, today, legally, health wise, politically, socially, must be subservient to Him, therefore we are called to pray to stabilize in this hour. I urge you, do not neglect to pray. Press into prayer. Talk to and with Him, listening to His voice more, not less. Hold your ground through prayer. Watch God move, He is not "ghosting" you. He is active and at work.

Now, once more. Legs over the side and lower yourself back into impossible circumstances....with Him.


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