by MG Kerr
Sometimes a surf session can turn into a battle with the ocean. The wind shifts and begins to blow with more force. I find myself in a paddle battle with white-capped chop, overpowering currents, and wind-blown spray forcefully fanning from the tops of unruly waves. As I make my way out, my board is tossed about by the confused sea, and repeatedly my forward progress is erased by a constant onslaught of powerful breakers.
I found myself in such conditions on a day recently when my life felt a little bit like that angry sea. As I battled the ocean, I found myself thinking of Dory in the Disney film, Finding Nemo, when she repeats the phrase, “just keep swimming”. As my shoulders began to ache from exertion, I thought things like, “don’t give up, keep going, you can do it”. Later on, I was reading a Bible story in Matthew 8 that describes a time when Jesus and the disciples were caught out in a boat on an angry sea during a storm. His disciples were afraid. The story says that, Jesus “rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying ‘what sort of man is this that even the winds and sea obey him?’” (Matt 8:26-27)
Life can be like an angry sea sometimes. I want to keep swimming and persist, but what I can do in my own strength is woefully limited. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That’s right, I can do all things because of Christ, not because of myself. I am a child of the One who commands even the winds and the sea. He asks me to cast my burdens on him (Ps 55:22) and put my trust and faith in him (Matt 17:20). We often find ourselves paddling through the troubled waters of life. Jesus has the ability to calm those waters. The storms and waves are never outside the control and power of Jesus.
“The sea is his, for he made it…Oh come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” Psalm 95:3-6