Riding the Waves

Originally published Tuesday, 09 September 2014.

At times he would glance at me with those beautiful blue eyes and flash his charming grin as if to check and assure himself that mommy watched his feats of strength. Other moments, he would forget he wasn't the only boy splashing in the ocean and though he was feet from the next child, would dive bravely into the next wave with the gusto of Alexander the Great. Finally, there were those moments that the wave came with greater strength than he anticipated and he would stand coughing and looking about as if, "What just happened here?"

Often we adults resemble the above description in reference to the challenges and opportunities that waves of life bring in peak, trough succession. Some opportunities in life we look at and think I got this. Other, more humbling opportunities, we stare in disbelief and wonder why we were chosen to ride this wave into shore. Sometimes we give it our best go and end up gasping for breath.

Where are you in the ocean of life right now? Are you relishing a good time and looking about to see who will join you in rejoicing? Are you facing a daunting wave that could either provide the ride of a lifetime or the fear of failure? Or, are you so far offshore, perhaps as a result of your own choices or unexpected events, that you haven't considered catching a wave in months or even years.

Despite the prevailing circumstances, and your choices to date, the truth remains:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26, ESV)

We too often forget that God is our portion. We must pray and seek to make God our chief desire in a ocean full of cruise ship distractions and temptations. When we do, we may fear being overcome by our calling, but we will catch the waves intended for us. Or, if failure prevails, we will learn from the maneuvers that result in a mightier challenge than supposed, which may subsequently leave us sputtering up salt water with thoughts of, "What just happened here?" 

The Apostle Paul was a man acquainted with daunting waves...literally. Three times he was shipwrecked and spent one night and a day adrift at sea. (2 Corinthians 11:25) In any or all of these circumstances was Paul outside of the will of the Father? I cannot find reason in the Scriptures to support such a claim. Therefore, could we not attempt to catch a wave in obedience to God's calling on us and find ourselves gasping for air? Indeed that may be the case, but we will never know the outcome if we do not first attempt the feat.

As I stood on the shoreline watching Joshua with pride as he fearlessly jumped into the waves and swam with big boy breast strokes I was watching him with joy. I watched rejoicing in his efforts and cheering his successes. I checked to see if he was okay and encouraged him to rest and try again when the waves crashed and left him coughing up salty water. (I also yelled several times that he was going too far!)

Don't you think our Father watches our efforts and acts of obedience in a similar and even more perfect way?

I do.

So go ahead. Go all in. Jump into the crashing waves and swim with all your might.If you hear your Father on the shore cheering you on and encouraging obedience you can proceed with this knowledge:

Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
~C.T. Studd