Whether it’s the rugged coast of Northern California or the aqua blue shores of Florida, there has always been something about the ocean that connects me to God and fills with me with delight. Needless to say when we lived in South Florida, I spent my free time at the beach. Sunrise was my favorite, but given the chance, I would stay all day.
There were times when the tide was quit strong. The boys would be swimming right in front of me, chasing waves & trying to catch silvery fish with their hands; before you knew it, I would look up to find them 20 feet down the shoreline. I would whistle and they would look up, notice they had drifted and swim back up in front of me. And so the cycle would continue.
Isn’t that the way of life sometimes? We’re busy doing our thing when something catches our attention and we suddenly wonder, “How did I get here?” Even more dangerous is when we look at our spiritual life, realizing we’ve moved away from God.
I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, in fact I do most of my yearly contemplating & planning in August; the beginning of the the school year. This January I took some time to look up from where I am at. Look around and see if I am down the shoreline or not. I wanted to take stock of myself for sure but mostly I wanted to note my proximity to God. Am I reflecting who He is and choosing to be different than the culture around me? Am I changing, growing, maturing?
Bear with me a moment while I change stories...
I once read a book about a teenage girl who began to loose her sight. At the time she was on the swim team and loved to swim out in the depths of the ocean as strength training. As you can imagine, with the loss of her eye sight she was no longer allowed to swim in the ocean. Devastated and desperate for normalcy in her life, she did so anyways; almost loosing her life in the process.
What if, in our need for normalcy, stability, community or purpose or whatever it is we feel we need in our season; we jump heard first into the deep? What if we do so to the detriment our life; our spiritual life?
Matt says that I tend to beat around the bush because I'm too nice. So if my analogy seems vague, let me be clear & honest. God has my attention & we are drowning.
In the story of the blind teenage girl, a friend happened upon her. Calling out to her, he lead her back to safety and saved her life.
I calling out.
The Bride of Christ is loosing itself in the tide of our culture.
We settle for comfort rather than deep spiritual work of right living.
We exchange Truth for "love". But is it love to let a lie live?
We focus on self improvement rather than self denial and the removal of sin from our lives.
We absorb entertainment for an experience while avoiding the reality of eternity right here, starting right now.
We exercise our "grace" blending into the crowd.
We settle for an emotional high on Sundays while crawling through the mire of the week, forgetting the victory we sang about.
We're loosing our children and the world has no reason to believe.
It sounds hopeless. It feels hopeless. I wrestle with the balance. Can there a balance? I have been accused of being too conservative. So I wonder if I should find a middle ground. I don't know.
When I seek the Lord, this is what I find...
You adulteress, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that there is no meaning in the Scripture. The Spirit that lives in us, is jealous over us...
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded.
James 4:4-5, 7-8
That's a tough one to swallow. I hesitated every time I read the first phrase. It was even harder to type. The language is so black & white.
When I would whistle for the boys to come up the beach, they had to choose to look up & obey. When the blind swimmer heard the call, she had to decide if she would respond & follow the voice of her rescuer.
Will we look up?
Will we respond?
So That God is heard & we are saved.