Tossed by the Wave


My husband and I took five (FIVE!) days away from our kids last month. It was a miracle of miracles! When I think about it for too long my eyes start to tear up. I don’t want to start gazing off and reminiscing about Pina Coladas and windswept hair, long dinners, hilarious conversation and long and lovely silence. Instead I’ll tell u about what I saw on the way there.

We headed down to the Caribbean, a relatively short flight from Florida. Living in Florida all my life I’ve grown up near the ocean. Bodysurfing and battling waves is a comfortable day at the beach for me. Even as I’ve gotten older I’ve enjoyed being tossed around and moved by something more powerful than me. It’s fun and challenging and wears out even the most energetic kid.

It was on our way to this trip that I captured the above picture. As we flew over the Caribbean we experienced especially strong Trade winds. I stared out my window and in the aqua waters below me I could just barely make out white crests of the waves. (If you squint you can kind of make them out in the picture.) I was desperate for binoculars. I wanted to zoom in on these tiny white lines. I figured what looked so miniscule from my perspective, 35,000 feet up, had to be pretty scary at eye level.

We were on the last leg of our flight and drawing closer to the waves, those tiny white lines of varying thickness and length. I could see them moving now. I could see them churning, rolling over and connecting to other waves.  I could see ripples on a vast ocean. The closer I got the mightier the waves became.

Once we landed, we checked into our hotel and headed to the beach. We stood along on the rocky shoreline, where the ocean broke swiftly and the rough shallow waters threatened to knock us off our feet. Even there I felt the power of the wind mixing the water and making waves. I stayed close to the shore fearing rip tides and strong currents. I hadn’t grown up here. I wasn’t familiar with these waters so I didn’t want to risk heading out too far. I didn’t want to be in the middle of that ocean with those heavy winds.

It’s like that with our faith too. Sometimes we’re a little leery in stepping out. The waters aren’t familiar. So we take calculated risks because we trust the ocean instead of the God who made it.

We call it wisdom and we step out onto the water on a calm day, filled with faith. Then one day when we’re out in the middle of those waters, the winds pick up; the next day the storm comes; the waves get higher; the ships barrel by us; sharks start swimming underneath us and then we remember that there is a canyon below us that reaches depths of 35,000 feet. And even though we can’t fathom those depths, we fear what we can’t comprehend. We buckle and start to sink.

Frantic, we start swimming the vast Atlantic Ocean looking for a rocky shoreline, thinking that will be our safe place, thinking we’ll find rest there, one day, if we can just keep swimming.

That’s where we often find ourselves. For some reason we think it’s best to keep those waves at eye level. We think we need the workout, or we believe that’s where God wants us, battling the waves. When really, it’s just wearing us out.

I love the verses in the Bible where God speaks to Israel and says, “Arise” or “Rise”. He uses those words countless times to tell someone to, “Get up”, to “Go and do” something.  Joshua, Ezra, the Israelites, Samuel, Peter and us, were given commands to “Rise”. Now I read it in a new way. He’s inviting us get our minds higher than our circumstances. He’s telling us to get a different perspective. He’s asking us to see it from His vantage point.

Israel had been consumed and overrun by sin, corruption, and hurt when God said, “Arise.” For years they had forgotten their position as His chosen ones and Hisposition as the one true God. They were getting pummeled by the waves of doubt and unbelief. Regardless of their unbelief God never stopped being the God who saves. He never stopped loving Israel. He said, “Arise” to remind them of His promises that the light of His glory was on them; and He is still the God who commands the oceans. He is the only One who holds the oceans in His hands.

And he would Be their provision once again. He was giving them hope when they were desperate, when they couldn’t see over the waves. Their hope, our hope is still Jesus. And remember, He walked on the water, on top of those waves. He gave us that same power.

Sometimes I am desperate and frantic. I find myself battling those waves of doubt, anger, and unforgiveness. God is whispering so tenderly to me, “Rise, my daughter”. He says, “Let me show you the big picture. Come see how tiny these waves are from where I sit. Let me remind you of your heavenly position.”

When I do, those waves look miniscule, like they did from the plane. Except God’s view is even better. From His lap I see vast waters, as far as the eye can see.

Further in the distance I see a giant tsunami wave of love coming. It’s always coming, promising to wash away the waves we are facing and drowned us in His love.  We are meant to be overcome by it. It is supposed to move us, to toss us into His arms of love. It is meant to stop us from battling those small waves. And it is meant to envelope us and wear us out, we, the energetic kids.

Erin Arruda