Waves

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I have been largely silent in the blogging world as of late. Actually both of us have. It is not that we haven’t had much to write about but as you may know I have been in the throes of finishing my doctorate. Much of this past season has been writing about what I had to. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I needed to write for me. Write something that mattered. So something my pastor said struck me and I just had to put fingers to the keyboard and write. Open my heart and write. What was it, you ask????

This verse that I had never heard, which is strange because I have many of the creation ones memorized especially when they deal with water.  But I missed this one until today.

Isaiah 51:15 – For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the Lord Almighty is his name.

Water has great meaning in my life. It is healing to me. It speaks to me. There is something about being in it. So sure it grabbed my attention. My pastor was speaking about stories in our lives that God tells through our circumstances and experiences. We don’t write the story, we just live it. He stirs the waves, we just ride them.

It made me think about when Anna and I went to Hawaii. The surfers and the waves were captivating for me. Especially those famed ones on the north shore of Honolulu. The waves were massive. Mountains of water that crashed like avalanches… How could anyone survive that??? How could anyone ride those waves, what was the secret??? As I watched I did not know the secret, it eluded me. But true clarity came today.

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The surfers don’t make the waves, they don’t control them, they don’t bend them to their will and conquer them. They ride them. They go where the wave takes them. They allow the waves they are riding to direct their course, to determine how the ride will go. Sure they can make slight changes and can determine when to ride and when to take a break. But the waves are there every day. The waves are stirred from the deep every single day. The surfer’s secret is that they choose to ride. Choose to hold on for the epic ride that follows. Sure it is not without effort and pain, and I am sure they get thrashed sometimes. But they still ride.

If you have read this blog for a while you know what our waves have been. Today’s message made me think about those waves. It made me think of another verse in Isaiah speaks about waves in a person’s life.

Isaiah 43:2 – When you come to the waters, I am with you. When you pass through the waters, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fires you won’t be burned.

That one is tattooed on my arm with three waves crashing over it. I got it after the third miscarriage. I wanted a permanent remembrance of the babies that we had lost.

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It is a reminder of the promise that God does not produce waves to crash over us. The pain and loss that Anna and I have experienced was not allowed to happen to crush us, to crash over us and pummel our hearts to the depths.

But they did for me. They crashed right over me. I was thrashed. Why??? Because I fought the waves…  I tried to overcome the wave and defeat it. Carnage followed… I resisted my story. I resisted the work of Jesus in my life. I found myself slipping under the surface, rolling in the turbulence below. Depression and bitterness followed. Joy was lost in the chaos of the spray and foam.

After the final blow came with my permanent infertility,  I found myself coughing and spitting on the shore. Exhausted and worn, I laid on the beach. When I finally came too, I looked out at the massive waves with wide eyes and fear. For months I begged him to calm the sea, to take away the waves. He instead showed me my fear, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

This is not the end of the story though. Starting last year about this time, through medication and counseling – Jesus walked beside me on the beach. He explained that I am a surfer. That he made me a surfer. He explained that I was made to ride the waves. He explained that all I have to do is have the courage to ride. To step into that turbulent sea and paddle out to those mountainous waves and do what I was designed to do. Engagement was the answer, intentionally standing on my board (read: life) and riding the water with strength and grace. He also explained to me that I would not be alone. He and others would be riding with me.

Surfers know the secret. They get it. I do now too. The waves make life worth living. The author of the waves makes life worth living because through those vary waves we found out who we really are. For several months now I have been riding waves. It was rough at first but now is getting more natural. I am doing what I was designed to do. I am living the life I was made to live. This is what it means to worship God. This is what it means to belong to Jesus.

God stirs up the waves. Our job is to ride them. They will be massive. But those are the ones that give us the most epic of stories.

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One thought on “Waves

  1. Allison Crowell

    Love it Joel, thank you. I often use the roller coaster analogy maybe partly because I love the thought of them but my body hates to ride them. I realized how often I think of my own rides and journey’s on my roller coaster and it calms my heart knowing that eventually the ride will come to an end only to be faced with another new ride. You write so wonderful I enjoy reading both of your posts. I hope your doctorate writing is taking you to wonderful places as well. I loved writing my masters paper, the process was so enlightening. Good luck on the end!

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