Like Ripples In The Water
By Dr. Mike Murphy
It was famously said, “ Only politics can lead a silent monk to sound like a seasoned sailor.” We watch the actions of many politicians on our television screen, and we are left wondering just how cutthroat this world can be, And we see this as we hear so many in the capital of our country speak, speaking without first giving a moment to thought. But this past week, I watched as the viciousness of the political world paid a visit to my own backdoor.
Our neighborhood homeowners association is now facing elections for those who would serve in the coming years on the governing board. A neighbor of ours, and a close friend, decided she would run for the board, seeing the difference she hoped to bring to the board. A difference that would hold the board more accountable, and would look for ways to open up the process, so information would pass more freely between the board and homeowners. A difference that was gaining momentum in many of the homes in our neighborhood. But a difference some on the board who were running for reelection, and whose ego often feeds off the small amount of power that a neighborhood board can hold, simply could never allow to take place.
Without warning, and without going through the standard process, some on these board members looked to place their interpretation on the governing bylaws. So they could create a grievance that would not allow her to serve. And did so at a time when she would not only have to deal with this sudden shock. But at a time when she, and her family, were also dealing with a medical crisis.
Several of us that are friends and neighbors, were outraged at the actions of some of those on the board, and we were willing to let our disgust for what had happened, begin to be heard. We spoke out, as we watched the political rocks being hurled at her, and echoing out with each throw like ripples in the water. But as we spoke out, we saw her speak Up. Making it obvious to all of us, that not a single ripple would blur the image of Him we saw in her. We did not see her grow angry, nor did we see her go and cower in the corner. We saw her remain consistent. Still reaching out to all, and still offer hope for the future of our neighborhood. Promising all, that even if she was not on the board, she would still try to do all she could to see the needed differences come to our community.
The Word of God tells us, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.”(Proverbs 18:10). At a time when the attacks were quickly coming her way, she did not have to build a wall of defense. Because right beside her stood the greatest defense. A defense that was already surrendering her. A defense that would not let a single one of their rocks come close to squarely hitting her. A defense that stood so close in guarding her, that it did not allow the ripples to grow so large that it clouded the image of the One who was standing right in front of her.
As Paul was imprisoned in Rome, He wrote to the church at Philippi. He sent words of encouragement to them, looking to remind them, Christ will always be our life. Christ is to always be our goal. Christ will always be found as our joy. And Christ will always serve as our strength. And as he reminded them, he wrote these words to them, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.:(Philippians 2:3). No matter how many rocks those in this world might throw at us, not a single one of those rocks can knock us off the path the Lord has placed before us. The right He was calling us to before those rocks were thrown, is the same right He is still calling us to after those rocks have left their hands. A right, that no matter the distractions this world might try to cause us, is still the same right this world needs to see from us. A right, that will lead many to a growing respect for us, as they see the drive toward doing what is right that He has placed in us.
This week, my friend, and her family, reminded me of exactly what that respect looks like as I looked through the ripples to see His reflection. We so often hear, respect is earned, or that respect is given. But this week, they showed me that respect is not just earned or given, respect is seen. Respect is heard. Respect is witnessed. Respect serves as an example. Respect is viewed in the reflection of Him others see in us. Respect is not clouded by the ripples, but made clear as each rock is thrown. A respect for my friend, and her family, that has grown even larger this week. A respect that not only I have for each, but one that I have witnessed grow as our neighborhood has watched each of them graciously, confidently, and purposefully, handle the events of this past week. A respect that as each rock was thrown, has now left my neighbor and friend with a stronger voice in our neighborhood to move forward with the changes she sees needed, than the voice she would have had from a simple neighborhood election.
With someone that I have often been blessed to be able to minister to, the Lord has used this week to minister to me in the most powerful of ways. Showing this old dog, how the Lord can still teach him the newest of tricks. A trick that shows me just how my bark should always sound. A bark that does not need the show of teeth to make its point. And a bark that does not grow quiet in the face of trouble, running with its tail between its legs away from what it faces. But a bark that is always consistent, respected by all as it is heard. A bark, that leaves all around us unclouded by the ripples, because He is seen so clearly in us, that only His words can be heard.
Praying with each ripple that comes your way, His reflection is still clearly seen!