Newness and Fear

You’d like to think that all this “newness” would be easy to embrace. You’d think that you would rush and run to throw yourself into the realm of possibility. 

And yet, this isn’t really the record of human beings. 

In fact, human beings—you included—tend to shy away from the new, even to resist it. 

In the gospels, immediately after Jesus feeds thousands upon thousands with only a meager amount of food—something “new” indeed—his followers fail in their faith, finding themselves terrified, first in the midst of a storm and then terrified even more when Jesus shows up and calms it!

In fact, Mark adds that “their hearts were hardened.” (And yes: that is the exact Biblical phrase that describes Pharaoh during the debates with Moses in the midst of the plagues.)

So give yourself a break: maybe the more typical human response to newness is to hesitate, to resist. Don’t beat yourself up because of it. 

What the disciples do manage to do is to keep on following Jesus in spite of their own failures and resistance. They overcome their shame of failure and just keep on doing their best, stumbling and fumbling until they encounter within themselves just enough faith to get by, to get out of the boat, to embrace the newness. 

So, maybe today, treat yourself gently and with compassion. Even if (especially if) you are failing to meet your own standards of responding to the newness of God.