Friday, March 21, 2014

Solid and secure

When I was a little girl, about the age my daughter is now, my parents took me on a family vacation to Hawaii. One of the things we did while were there was take my first catamaran ride. I remember it was a perfectly beautiful Hawaiian day. The sky was gorgeous, the temperature perfect and the ocean stretched out as far as the eye could see in all the beautiful shades of blue that only God Himself could paint so perfectly.

The blues were breathtaking, but it was the green that knocked the wind out of me. And it was not stretched out before me, but it certainly seemed to want to pull something out from inside me. We were not out on the water more than a few minutes before I started to feel as sick as a dog. I was torn between crumpling down into a pile or hanging my head off the side. The waters weren't even all that rocky, but they were enough to turn my stomach into a mess.

Comfort was nowhere to be found. Head between knees, hands over eyes, fetal position on the bench - nothing brought me or my stomach any peace. And I think it was about this time that my dad came and found me, and from the look on his face the color of mine was clear - NOT GOOD GREEN. He sat down on the bench and had me lay down with my head in his lap looking out toward the waters. My stomach turned as the waters shifted with the waves.

My dad leaned down into my ear. "See that island off in the distance?" he asked. With the rise and fall of the catamaran I caught sight of it. "Look straight at it," he said. I think I moaned my objection wanting to close my eyes and block out the waters and their movement, but my father sternly warned against it. "Don't close your eyes," he said. "Trust me, focus on the island over there that is solid and isn't moving."

In desperation and doubt I did what my Father said. I stopped looking at the waves that rushed about, and I looked over and beyond the side of the boat that swayed as it rode above them and I fixed my eyes on the island, solid and secure, Slowly but surely my nausea began to subside. As my color started to slowly return to a more human shade, my dad told me again, "When you're disturbed by the things that are moving, and you feel tossed about, you have to look at what is solid and secure."

There was a deep wisdom in my father's advice that I didn't fully recognize that day some 32 years ago. But the Truth of it resonates in my mind nonetheless as we find ourselves riding in a different kind of waters today.

There is so much that is uncertain, both in our personal lives and in the "bigger picture" as well. The economy is bad, and doesn't offer a lot of hope to our challenges in our personal finances. Health of some in our family is questionable, jobs are at risk, which leads to a long list of other waves that beg to toss us about. And when I catch myself looking at all that is swirling around us in "the boat" we are in, emotionally speaking I can feel myself start to turn pretty green.

But I hear my heavenly Father whispering the same kind of Truth that my daddy whispered into my ear that day on the catamaran. "Look at what's solid and secure," He says. "Fix your eyes on what, and more importantly Who, does not move."

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is standing firm in the midst of the storms we are facing. The Word of God promises peace when we fix our eyes on Him. (Isaiah 26:3) It's not a promise of peaceful circumstances, but a promise of peace in the midst of whatever situation, struggle or even crisis we may face.

Just like I needed to fix my eyes on the island to calm my stomach, it is by fixing my eyes, heart, mind and faith on the Lord that my spirit will be calmed in the ride on the waters of life. Because however I may feel tossed about - He alone is the One thing unmoving. He alone is the One that is solid and secure.

The good news is that His security is for far more than this temporary life. As I keep my eyes fixed on Him in the waters, a time will come when my "catamaran" will finally find itself fully docking on the firm shores of the Lord and I will spend my secured eternity with Him there. That's where my home is already built, prepared for me by Him. I just need to keep my eyes focused on my way, and it will bring a strength and peace that will help me get through this ride called life.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Psalm 121

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18