By: Richard Gazowsky
One day when I arrived home, I found out that I was written about in the New York Times. In an article commenting on the release of the documentary, “Audience of One,” which tells the story of the early preproduction of the film “Gravity,” which we are still working on. The New York Times said, “The filmmakers have an avalanche of technical and financial misfortunes so overwhelming that satan himself is blamed for undermining the divine blockbuster.” I laughed at their observation, but the truth is they haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to learning obedience to the voice of God.
Prophet Timothy Snodgrass gave me a word that I must learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Wow! Was that a true word! When God sends you on a prophetic journey it is much like the journey of Abraham. Paul said that Abraham went forth and knew not whither he went, which meant that he went without a map. This kind of wandering is exasperating and even more so when the time is lengthened. The New York Times article once again haunted me with the question, “Why hasn’t WYSIWYG finished the film yet?” So how long is long? The finishing of the film must be at God’s pleasure, but while we are waiting the world can point its finger at us and say, “God never spoke to you in the first place.” The point of this whole discussion is whether God calls us to obey Him so that He can preserve our reputation among fellow men or whether He wants us to obey for His pleasure only?
God once gave me an incredible adventure that emphasized how important it is to be obedient to the voice of God. What I mean by this is that we are not called to impress the world in what we can do for God. Instead we have been placed in a position to obey God’s voice so that God can do great stuff for us and show His glory, not ours.
One of the young prophets in our church once prophesied that I was to go deep sea fishing. This word did not please me because I have never been a fisherman, and I especially was not fond of riding on boats in the ocean, but I remembered the word from Timothy Snodgrass to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I thought if I got a conformation that I would at least attempt it. Sure enough the next week I got the confirming word. The confirming word made an emphasis on “deep” sea fishing. At the time I did not realize what this meant. The following week my wife and son joined me in sailing out of Monterey Bay in California for our first deep sea fishing ride. California had just been hit with a large storm and this happened to be the first day of sunshine. As we sailed through the calm waters of the bay, I felt excited about this adventure and what a thrill it was going to be. My wife, Sandy, started to feel a little queazy but was a good trooper and kept a smile on her face, even though I had talked her into going on this adventure.
In the next few moments we hit the deep Pacific Ocean. I did not realize that the ocean waves could be so large. One moment we were in a valley with the waves taller than houses on both sides, then we were on a small hilltop where we could see the horizon clearly. This up and down motion went on and began to work on my equilibrium until finally after 2 1/2 hours the captain came to the place of fishing and said, “Bait your hooks. There is a school of fish about 250 feet below us.” As I tried to focus, so that I would not stick the hook into my hand while I was trying to bait it; the bouncing of the ship threw me recklessly against the rail and suddenly my stomach could not take it any longer. Uncontrollably I vomited over the side of the boat. To my dismay, my son and other fisherman were downwind while my son was catching his first fish! As you can imagine this was not a happy moment. My son, Sunny, was also sick as a dog, and as soon as his fish was on the deck he went to find a place to lie down next to a garbage can. Before I knew it I was in the small bathroom with my face in the toilet again. I won’t even begin to tell you about my poor wife, Sandy, but all three of us realized that the only thing to do to even survive this horror of seasickness was to lie down and try to sleep.
I was able to catch an hour of rest and when I woke up I thought, “Wow, this is probably why Jesus fell asleep in the middle of the storm!” I realized that when the storm around me rages with doubt and fear that my best response is to rest in Christ.
Three hours later we headed for a 2 1/2 hour journey back to the port. I felt like the journey was endless, but I knew that the Lord had asked me to go. I was careful to not complain, even though every fiber in my body felt so sick, even after the fifth time of vomiting I praised the Lord in the bathroom because I knew I was a servant obeying what the Father was wanting me to do. The main purpose of the journey was to obey Him. But while my family and I were suffering with the pain of the journey, the other fisherman saw our plight and began to fish for us. Sunny woke up to discover that his fish had been thrown back in the water by mistake. The one fish that I caught was a Canary fish which was illegal to catch and had to be thrown back. All that remained of our fishing adventure was the one fish that was caught by my little 4 ft. 11 tall wife, Sandy, who toward the end of the journey gained enough of her sea legs to carry her one fish back to the deck hand and asked if he would clean it. The deck hand smiled and said, “When we saw that you guys were sick, we fished for you and have 29 beautiful Rock Cod for you to take home.”
When I stepped off the boat, the illness had passed and my son was standing there with a full bag of 30 fish. Do you get the picture? We walked off of that boat like hardy experienced fishermen. Nobody on the boat was laughing at us, they treated us like we were heros and told us their own horror stories of their first time out. As I stood there on the dock I got an incredible revelation. I did absolutely nothing on that boat trip that made me a fisherman, but yet the Lord blessed me with the one reward that every fisherman desires, fish! The apostle Paul talks about Abraham in the same way, “So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve of him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story that we are given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”
Yes, the New York Times and the The New York Post laughed and made fun of the journey that God has sent me on, but the journey is not over yet. There is a bag of fish that I am waiting to hold in my hand because I have learned that obedience is better than sacrifice. Lukewarm people are always safe because they never follow those crazy words from God, but the scripture is clear that if you are lukewarm, He will puke you out of his mouth. So, puke or be puked…that is the question.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”