Paddle Left by JW Kaiser
I was so excited to see our first ever all-girls Surf Missions trip head off to El Salvador for a week of surfing, ministry, and drawing closer to Jesus. And even more excited since my wife and daughter were on the trip! Each morning, they would surf a world-class right point break and serve in different ways the rest of the day.
One morning, my wife Shelly was paddling back out and got caught inside during a bigger clean-up set of waves. In the midst of overhead sets breaking on top of you, you can easily forget that there’s a deep channel of water nearby when surfing a point break. Just as she was starting to panic, a familiar voice of her friend Ana shouted, “Just paddle left!” On a right point break, paddling parallel to the beach would lead her to the safety of the channel, where she could easily paddle back out. It’s longer and counter-intuitive at first, but much easier!
There are times when we’re hit by many “waves” in life and panic. Maybe we’re caught in habitual sin and can’t seem to make it out of the devastating impact of our bad decisions. Maybe life has thrown you “over the falls” and you find yourself in a desperate situation in life right now.
What did Shelly need to hear? She needed encouragement from a friend, and needed help to a place of safety and peace. Relying on our own wisdom, we might just keep going the same direction straight into the “waves”.  I propose that we all need someone like Ana in the middle of our times of need to encourage us. I’d also challenge us all to become more like Ana. Who is God calling you to encourage and help point to the only One who can bring lasting peace?
Jesus is certainly found in the middle of the turbulent waves of our life. He’s there for you even when you don’t think you’ll make it and you go under yet another time. He’s right there loving you with all that He is and He will never leave you. Be an encourager.  Be a hope giver. Let’s all keep paddling together.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11