Catch the Wave
Wave! Deep breath. Roll. Hold tight! Like a freight train at full throttle it roared over me, a raging force that could batter my frail humanity into shreds within seconds of impact. Barely had I surfaced and wiped the water from my eyes when another loomed large and foreboding ahead, thundering toward me at a frightening speed. Grey-green walls of water. Relentless. One after the other.
Fear oozed into my soul and the feeling of suffocation grew. The only safe place was beyond the monsters, further out into the deep. Or on the beach. My arms ached. My breath was ragged. Keep going! Don’t stop!
Unfamiliar faces surrounded me. The “big boys” had come out to play today. What was I doing here? Fast approaching 50, with less than four years experience (and even that, only in my spare time), I was way out of my depth amongst these. Conditions and heroes alike.
But from somewhere deep within, a thrill teased my soul. And a familiar Voice, “Don’t be afraid….. Don’t be afraid!” Peace returned, and excitement began to grow. Another wall began to crumble. Roll! Surface. Breathe! Fear returned.
“What if you could see them differently? What if these are here for you to enjoy? To ride without fear? What if…..?” I choked down terror – acceded to the invitation. “What if I choose the next one for you?” Yes please!
My heart beat in my ears, a rhythmic “prestissimo”. But a profound calm held my soul. “I am with you.” The water sparkled, the green 4 metre face rising to greet me. “This is yours!” I paddled hard, turned the rail into the wall, felt my board racing forward, caught by the energy of the water and jumped up onto my feet. Power reverberated through my bones, raw cosmic energy surging from the depths. Hurled me forward. And I rode it. Down the face and up again. And again. And again! Exhilaration! Sheer pleasure unbounded! Whooping, I danced with the wave. Fear forgotten.
Another wave beckoned, and another. My smile was broad, and my soul, like a sated tick, swelled with joy. The sun played on the water as I paddled out again and again, exulting in this new-found perspective, and experience.
You don’t have to be a surfer to hear the invitation to go deeper, further out. To ride the waves of life, that have terrified and paralysed, bravely, with joy. There is a Voice that speaks above the storm. Transcends pain. Brings peace. Instils courage. And rides with you. Not changing the circumstances, but changing perspective, and therefore experience. Bringing victory where there was defeat. Hope where there was despair. Happiness in exchange for sorrow. Life for death.
Have you heard it? The Voice of the Bridegroom calling His bride? She is one we are tempted to slander. Easily writing her off for her social ineptitude, lack of relevance, poor fashion sense, scarred body and awkward limp. But He loves her. He only sees her beauty. His promise of perfection is already His perception. He meets her in her vulnerability and fear, offering a new, untainted identity. His own. She is the church, you and me. And we are His. One flesh, He says. A holy mystery.
We live and move and have our being in Him, Jesus. God. Himself. I AM.
The invitation stands. Accept. Throw off fear. Fear is not who you are! His love is stronger than death. More powerful than the grave. His offer is of LIFE. One with Him. Merge into the one flesh existence, living life in and through the One who loved you, gave Himself for you.
Are you willing to hear the Voice above the thunder of your pain? Are you willing to trust Him? He will not disappoint you. Ever.
How dare I make such audacious claims? Because HE has. And I can vouch for His faithfulness in my own experience. Not simply in the waves. But in the deepest, darkest moments of life itself, in the pits of despair and crushing hopelessness, I have met Him, heard His voice, “Don’t be afraid,” and His hand has held me, scooped me up into a life-giving embrace. Furthermore, I have heard His invitation to go deeper, further out, and have loved the adventure, only proving Him more true to what He has written than I ever thought possible. I know what it is to sell everything and give myself to the poor, to find Him there beside me supplying all my needs, and those of my young son. Without a human soul knowing a thing! And having no source of income. I know what it is to be on the brink of suicide, having lost perspective, ready to destroy what He created, and find Him there with me, without condemnation, pulling me out of the pit into which I had fallen. I know what it is to be confronted with pain and helplessness and have nothing myself to give, calling out to Him alone, and see Him come and meet the needs and heal the brokenness. Miraculously. And there’s more. So much more.
Come with me and let us run together! Let’s throw off fear and all that holds us back! Let’s choose to believe Him, and paddle into the biggest wave we’ve ever faced. Because He says so. And He is with us. Thrill awaits! Joy unspeakable.
And then we can truly say, experientially,
“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” – Psalm 16v11
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