The Knopp family experienced an awesome family vacation last week. We traveled to a beautiful beach community in South Carolina where we relaxed and enjoyed getting away from the daily whirlwind.
During this time away, I was reminded that there are two places where adults cannot help but feel like a kid again—on a swing and in the surf. Seriously, just try it. Find a playground with a swing and try your best to act like an adult while pumping your legs to see how high you can go. If you’re feeling particularly rowdy, you can even twist the chains around or jump off the swing at its highest point like we did back in the day. (Back in the day being yesterday for me.)
I love being in water—a pool, lake, river, and especially the ocean. I’m totally useless as a husband at the beach. We go from a family of two adults and two children to three kids and one adult once we hit the sand. Sorry, mommy, but daddy’s gotta splash around. I do not leave the water from the time our feet hit the beach till my wife does her best to drag me away. There’s something about being in that ginormous body of water—the end of which you cannot see—that makes the experience magical for me.
While I was enjoying my time as the creepy old guy all by himself out in the ocean either bobbing up and down with the waves or trying my best to body surf, I started to think of the waves as God’s movement in my life. Many times you hear people talk about “riding the wave of the Holy Spirit” or a similar metaphor. But personally, I have a tough time staying up on that wave.
Instead of riding the wave, God’s work in my life has been more like the waves crashing over me. Just as I am wading in the still surf, looking out at the vast nothingness of the Atlantic Ocean, a wave appears and crashes over me—leaving me soaking wet and sometimes breathless.
My experience of God is very similar. I get bogged down in the day-to-day and start to dry off from the last wave of God’s grace in my life. Then, many times without warning or reason, I feel his goodness washing over me again. I try my best to clumsily ride each wave but it is gone before I get the chance. I’m soaked in God’s love again and it sustains me as I return to the wading.
Perhaps others are more in tune with God’s Spirit and life is a continual hang-ten. Maybe they are like professional surfer Kelly Slater riding a perpetual barrel through life. But for me, it’s more like waiting for the next wave to come and crash over me.
And when it does, I love it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else doing anything else. Its force is exhilarating and knowing that it’s coming again without fail, even when I can’t see or predict it, keeps me there in the surf.
(Until my wife makes me come in, of course, because the real kids are hungry, tired, and crying.)
Is your experience of God more like riding one controlled wave continually through life?
Or do you too experience the consistent waves of love and grace washing over you despite your circumstance?