While on holiday recently we were walking along a beautiful lakeside path when we saw two men come around a small headland, standing upright on surfboards and propelling themselves along with long paddles. Having heard of this ‘new sport’ we watched with interest for a while.
As they headed out into the lake, one man appeared far more skilled than the other, and was soon some distance ahead of him. Then I saw one of the large passenger boats, which carry folk up and down the lake between villages and places of interest, approaching. These boats create quite a wake behind them, so I watched the first man intently, as the waves approached him.
He paddled his board confidently toward the waves until they reached him, then he was shaken to and fro, before falling backwards into the water, losing his paddle as he tumbled. I watched briefly as he swam to retrieve his paddle, and then turned to look for his board, which was some distance away. Then I turned my attention back to the second man, and was surprised to see him kneeling on his surfboard, holding it and the paddle tightly, as the waves reached him. He bobbed up and down to a great extent, but wasn’t shaken from his board. After the waves subsided, he stood up again, and began to paddle toward the swimming man, who was still trying to retrieve his board.
The Lord reminded me of times when, like the first man, I believe in my own strength and ability to face the trials and tribulations of life. I might see life’s difficulties approaching, but try to address them in my own way, in my own strength. By default, I rely upon the worldly ‘learnt behaviour’ of the years I spent struggling for survival, before I knew Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Each time I’ve done this the inevitable result was that I’d be shaken. I would lose my footing and fall one way or another. I’d end up distressed, often thrashing about, as wave after wave of trouble and consequence would toss me to and fro, until I could see sense. Then I’d return to Jesus and forgive those who’d hurt me, or repent of my own sin.
As I contemplated this, the Lord showed me how the second man knew he wouldn’t be able to face the waves heading for him. He chose to hold tight to his board and not be shaken off. ‘He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken’ (Psalm 62:2) came swiftly to my mind. I praised God for teaching me on my healing journey to trust in Him only, and hold tight to Him when trials and tribulations come my way. As I write this seed I pray that this truth will go deeper into my own heart, and I’ll have the discernment displayed by the second man in the scene on the lake. I pray I’ll see the ‘waves’ coming in life and, instead if trusting in my own skills and strength, I’ll trust in the Lord, my rock, my salvation, my fortress.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus died for me and that He only is my rock and my salvation. Help me, Lord, to discern life's troubles and tribulations as they approach, and to trust in You, as I face them head on in Your strength, and not in my own, safe in the knowledge that You’re my fortress, and in You I shall not be greatly shaken. Amen.