Sometimes real living, true abundant living is in the torrent of the waves. All too often, we spend our time working to build a safe haven from the waves of life. Family support surrounding us, a nice house, a reliant car, a nice savings, and retirement waiting for us in the end: the American dream. Or is it? God's economy just does not work the same way ours does, and sometimes He calls us off the safe shore into the crazy, torrent of waves. And, we would find, that in Him, even in the waves it is most safe. Why? Because He said, "come"... We go to Maine every summer at least once. It's the best place on earth and don't ask me why I haven't moved there. Because I have seriously begged God to send us. We have thought of many fantastic ministry opportunities. Church at the Inn, Church/Candy Store, RV Chaplain (that's a thing, right?)...
Sigh...to no avail...He is not listening.
Back to my point, the sea is my favorite place to be. Mostly on the shore, though, especially in Maine where the water temp is 50 degrees or less. I watch kids and adults frolic in the water as if it's warm and cozy, but I know the truth. It's not. My kids are just now getting brave enough to go to the edge. And, Cavin actually now does go all the way in. Yet, the waves still unnerve all of them a bit.
The cold and waves keep me out. I stay just where it's calm, right at the waters edge where the tide is coming in.
Yet, I always think that the water looks so refreshing and the waves look fun...exciting.
Our most recent vacation, I decided I was done gazing. I wanted to run in, just go for it. (I know, this is my pathetic - exciting life. Humor me, please.) I made Brad promise to go with me. But we didn't do it right away. The kids needed this and that. I didn't want to get soaking wet right at first, because then I would be uncomfortable and cold.
Brad kept asking me through the day, so are you ready, you still want to do this? Um sure, maybe in a little while.
Finally, I realized I couldn't back out, because well, I don't back out.
I got myself all geared up again and we went running as fast as we could. The cold hit me, seeping into my skin and dropping the overall temperature of the air. Brad leaped in...and I, well, I came to sudden halt as soon as I felt the cold on my waist and the first wave begin to hit. I am seriously a wimp.
After dancing around for a minute or more, I realized how ridiculous I was acting. I took a deep breath and just went under. It was freezing - 40-50 degrees freezing. It took my breath away. However, I relaxed and begin to get a little used to cold. Until each wave hit me again...
My point is, though, it was invigorating. Refreshing. And a whole lot of fun.
Sometimes, the best place to be is in the middle of the waves. Even when it's cold and uncomfortable, and each wave that comes knocks you off your feet and seems to take a little control. Where nothing is safe, everything is uncertain, and the hit of each wave chills you to the bone. If God says step out-rather-leap out of this boat, wouldn't the waves be better than the calm and safety of the boat or shore?
When he calls us to step out, like Peter, we call out, "If it is you Lord - I will come - if it is you I will go". We get so hesitant, we doubt. Sometimes, sometimes He wants us to throw doubt to the wind and just dive in. Trusting that the miracles and all that we need will follow.
Still He says come. If we step out, we are stepping out into waves-fog-maybe even a storm or two. Yet, we are also stepping out into of the sun on the sea, vastness of open spaces, a wild and invigorating ride on the waves.
You see it's not always fog and storm, sometimes there are clear skies and radiant sun. But, when you step out of the safe boat, there will always be waves. Sometimes small, sometimes big. Waves are a certainty.
There comes a point when God will call us away from the shore. He will lead us to the water, not away from it. There will come a time where He calls us to step out into the torrent of the waves. Do we trust Him enough? Will we keep our eyes upon Him, not falter or waiver, just steady trust?
This level of trust, the courage to leap - it does not come easily. This requires us to dig deep, and acknowledge our insecurities and fears. Which will reveal our lack of trust, and in the end, surrender. How much in our life have we not tried, done, or accomplished because of hidden insecurities and fears? What comparisons have held you captive? How many relationships went undone because we just couldn't take the risk? If we become inwardly healthy, we will find we now have all that we need in Him to take a dive-to take a risk.
Our Spirit is willing, yet our flesh is weak. We become convinced that safe is better. When Christ says it is better to lose your life in full surrender to Him, we unintentionally squander our time, talent, and resources trying to save it.
There is a favorite song of mine by Bethel Music that says this:
“And further and further my heart moves away from the shore. Whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am yours. Then you crash over me and I’ve lost control, but I am free. I’m going under, I’m in over my head. Whether I sink or whether I swim, it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head.”
Do we desire so much of Him, His path for our lives that we will allow ourselves to be “in over our head”? The waves are not always bad, sometimes they represent the beautiful adventures of following Christ.
When we follow God in abandoned surrender and obedience, He will overwhelm us with how He responds. I hear too many people (myself included) insisting on the safety of the shore when God is calling them into the waves.
Is He calling you to step out of the boat or to move away from the safety of the shore? What "safe" place are you clinging to? What is He calling you to do? Where is He calling you to go? Have a little faith and step out.