By Philip Pfanstiel
I’m going to tell you something but only if you promise to judge me. That’s right I’m writing this and I say tell. It’s like I don’t even know Chinese.
Today I took a dip in my pool. In case you think I was trying to be like Peter then you may be as crazy as me.
I walk around my pool a lot and pray. It’s a very peaceful spot. I love looking at the water, the huge tree that overhangs it and keeping Ash (my Australian Shepherd puppy) from tripping me as I walk (he loves walking right by my feet). Good times.
Tonight was a very momentous night. God’s been showing and giving me puzzle pieces for years and especially the last year. Tonight a whole bunch of puzzle pieces came together in a profound and powerful way. It was a cool thing. I’m glad you weren’t there because you would have made fun of me for crying. I’m just glad no one found out that I sat in my car and cried for 20 minutes. That would be embarrassing.
On the way home I asked God for a creative way to start and organize my new book. I’ll come back to this.
When I get home I take Ash and start walking around my pool, praying, praising and prattering to God. My favorite part is the prattering. I don’t think it’s a word but it completes the alliteration – apparently spell check says the word is prattling. I like prattering. Anyway, so I’m walking around my pool and it looks so peaceful.
And then the thought comes to me, “what if you walked on water across your pool.” I quickly dismiss it as crazy. But the thought doesn’t go away. Maybe I’ve completely lost what few marbles I have so please judge what I’m about to say.
So I entertain the thought. I know that I’ll most likely sink straight to the bottom in the barely above freezing water and will have to strip to my skivvies, run upstairs and take a hot bath or shower.
“So?” Came the response in my head. I’m not blaming God for this, but it could have been Him. He has a sense of humor I’ve found that is often times more devious (compared to our way of doing things) than mine.
“So?” was hard to argue with. Let’s say I tried to walk across the pool and immediately sank. So? It’d wake me up for sure. I’d be fine. Ash would think I was crazy (though I’m his standard of comparison so to him everyone else is crazy).
On the other hand, what if it was God I was hearing and I would end up walking across the water (a possibility that was very slight at best)?
But if I didn’t try … then what would happen? I’d live forever (or at least for days) wondering what might have happened. Drawing back. Holding caution. Resisting the wind.
The water was cold. Colder than I thought. But it was so much fun. As I stripped to my skivvies and hurried upstairs with Ash watching me in befuddlement I was so glad I did it. I didn’t walk on water. But I took a risk. A silly risk I know. I pretty much knew exactly what was going to happen (and I was right), but I’d do it again. Not tonight (did I tell you the water was cold?). I was good with both possibilities. One a miracle that would change my life and the other the punch line to a self-deprecating anecdote (where no commandments are broken, no one is hurt, no sin is committed). What I’m not okay with is the third possibility – always asking “what if?”
A few months ago (seems like years) I came up with what I thought was a profound manifesto for my life. I shared it with some friends and for months rued the whole thing (though I’ve come back to embracing it). So please judge this and tell me where I’m off kilter.
“I’d rather be wrong doing it God’s way, then be right doing it the world’s way.”
After doing a number of things this past year (where a dip in freezing water would have been a welcome alternative) I can honestly say I’ve been wrong. I tried (and still am trying) to do things God’s way but from the shape of things it appears I was wrong on many counts. I had this epiphany when making a recent YouTube video (maybe I’ll put a link here if I remember to) that I’d much rather be “right doing it God’s way, then to be wrong doing it the world’s way.”
But that’s not the bargain. Doing it God’s way will appear to be wrong, wrong, wrong. And doing things the world’s way will appear to be right, right, right. That is, until it flips. Waiting for that flip takes a lot of faith. Hope. And a belief that God loves you enough not to let you sink too far until He pulls you up from the drink.
Which brings me to something God told me (again please judge me) this past March. He told me that either I can defend myself of let Him defend me. My initial reaction was, “of course God, I want you to defend me. So I’ll stop defending myself.” The problem is, as we can all attest, God’s timing is not our timing. I don’t think He’s being cruel, but He does seem to let us sink up to our nose, or wait until 11:59 (plus a few more hours – since He’s in a different time zone).
One of my favorite quotes is “God’s will is what our will would be if we had all the facts.” Suffice it to say we don’t have all the facts. And when it comes to the right time I’ve never had all the facts. That’s where I’m learning to trust Him and release any expectation when it comes to timing. The irony is that so often when I finally release the expectation or desperation the situation resolves rather quickly. Again God’s devious sense of humor (like lightning, God goes straight – until He doesn’t).
For years I’ve contemplated the fact that God doesn’t defend Himself. Think about it. We blame God for a great many things that He didn’t do. In the Bible God is credited with things that He didn’t do, nevertheless He’d take credit for it since He could have stopped it and didn’t. He never passes the buck, blames others or defends Himself. He does offer to defend us though. The only catch is we can’t defend ourselves. Another one of those paradoxes; we can’t defend ourselves (if we’re following Christ’ example) but we are privileged to have the opportunity to defend God. He won’t defend Himself, but He wants to defend us.
I may develop that more in the future but for this article that will suffice.
The last thought and my feeble attempt to defend God is the idea of Glory. There is this verse (Isaiah 42:8) that says “God will share his glory with no one.” I’ve had the impression (wrongly I believe) that God is protective of His glory because of His pride. “It’s my glory, you can’t have it!”
I don’t think that’s it at all. Glory in Hebrew is “kabad” and one definition of it is “weight / heavy / mass.” I’ve postulated elsewhere that I think God’s glory is when his weight/ presence/ mass moves into our space-time existence from higher dimensions / heaven. When God heals His glory is revealed. What’s revealed? The movement of power/ mass (same thing – just ask Einstein) into our world heals, delivers, restores and breaks the chains of bondage.
So when it says He won’t share it, what I see this as saying is He is protecting it. Which makes sense when you put that verse (Isaiah 42:8) in context. The passage talks about idols / fallen angels / false gods. Basically, if I’m reading it correctly, God is saying “I will not let fallen angels pervert / twist and abuse my weight / presence / power.” It was never about God’s pride or protecting something for His sake. He’s protecting it for our sake.
Throughout world history the empires with the most power / energy dominate and win. Most wars have been fought over resources, be it food, people, or fuel. And the kingdom that can amass and utilize the most resources correctly wins.
Iniquity (according to Dr. Michael Lake in his new book “The Sheeriyth Imperative”) is the power / force that drives the Kingdom of Darkness. Righteousness / glory is the power behind God’s Kingdom and of course the strongest manifestation of glory and righteousness is when Jesus shed His blood and gave His life for us on the cross.
So these are some things I’ve been contemplating recently. Still a lot more to develop on it, but I find it fascinating and eye opening.
Now going back to an interesting way to start my new book, well I haven’t thought of it yet (I may have dropped it when I sank into the pool). But by my taking a chance tonight I have a fun memory and, I feel, an interesting way to start this article at least.
When all is said and done, no one remembers the conventional. Normal things are safe but they are in the end forgettable. I’ve said this a few times about this past year – it is definitely a year I’ll remember. It’s been the hardest of my life, but also one of the most profound, powerful and meaningful. Sometimes you have to step out and sink in order to eventually rise above it. Just make sure the hot water is working and that you’ve thought through the worse that can happen (and are good with it) then take a leap … or plunge – either way it will be an experience that you’ll remember.
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So now its your turn. Let me know where my logic failed. Judge what I’ve written. I’ve had so many people call me crazy throughout my life but very few will take the time to rebut, refute or even contend with my arguments. Maybe they just don’t care enough to engage. So please care, call me crazy and tell me where I got off track. e-mail is: email@example.com