Monday, March 19, 2012

The Rip Tide I Cannot See

Good Monday morning! Today is Enjoy Your Work Day! Whoo Hoo! This holiday occurs every Monday at about this time because I declare it to be so. You probably thought that it was just another Monday. This morning, to start my work, I read an article about a tragic drowning. Possibly not the best way to start a Monday, I must admit. Rip tides are perhaps the worst thing for an untrained swimmer in the oceans. What may be worse is for an athlete in one of the competitive skinny sports, such as running, high jumping, etc., to get caught in the same situation. These athletes are low in body fat and thus don't have the buoyancy that many of us take for granted. Some of us currently enjoy too much of this buoyancy, to put it kindly, but that is another story. The athletes also have one other disadvantage: their respective sports have trained them to compete, to fight against their own weakness, to charge straight at the finish line. A rip tide cannot be fought head on, the experienced surfer or swimmer will let it take them out until its own strength is spent and then will swim around or at an angle to it. The competitive non-swimmer may fight the rip tide until he drowns from exhaustion. In reading this story, I had to wonder about the rip tides in my own life.

In some ways, I seem to be drowning. Sins that I have struggled with for years still pound on me. And as the competitive but perhaps unwise (rather than saying 'dumb') Christian I continue to fight them. Might not our own Christian experience be the same in this life? We think that we can see the shore through the Bible promises of Heaven, so we continue to fight straight ahead. Jesus in His wisdom sees the rip tide and tells us to wait. Our competitive nature takes over and we fight the rip current until we go under. Jesus brings us back up to the surface, and tells us to trust in Him and wait on the Lord. Doubts are fired at us by the Adversary. Waiting goes against our nature, which by the way we know to be sinful, and we listen to that nature. We feel the urge to get back into the fight. Jesus says to wait. He can still see the current of the rip tide under the waves. We can see nothing but a dim image of the shore in our imaginations. Yet, we still want to fight not only against the current, but now also against the express command of our Lord and Savior. I wonder how much opposition must pile up before you and I realize that we are fighting the wrong fight?

Much of life in the military is waiting. One does not wait by wrestling with the enemy because even the strongest soldier would eventually tire and be no good for the real fight. I know this from experience, but I still have trouble when the Lord and Commander gives the command, "Wait!" Trusting and waiting may be among the most difficult lessons for us to learn in this life in Christ. Failing is easy, we have done that many times. But sometimes Jesus will see us struggling in the rip tide and let us fail in order that we may learn to wait when He commands and trust Him in all things. We cannot see the shores of Heaven from our limited, earthly view. We must learn to trust in Jesus and do as He says. Since that fight is against our very nature, we must also trust in our Lord to put a new spirit in us. A spirit of obedience, love, patience, peace, gentleness, self-control, ...and these sound a lot like the fruits of the Spirit. Do you suppose that Bible is on to something? Yeah, I think there just may be something there.

Praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

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