Over the weekend, we had a lovely time by the bay. Well, most of it was lovely. There was about an hour that wasn’t so lovely. Oh, the hour started out beautifully. My friend and I thought we would take a little ride in the kayaks they had brought along. I got into the kayak, completely confident that our ride would be uneventful and peaceful. An hour later, I got out of my kayak, drenched and declaring that I would never get in one again.
So what happened?
I started out with a confidence I should not have had. The bay was pretty choppy and I was a novice at kayaking. We were just at the point where we planned to turn around. One second I was in my kayak and the next second I wasn’t. I have absolutely no idea what happened. In talking it over later, we concluded that I must have been horizontal to the wave. Instead of putting the point of my kayak into the wave, I just rolled over with it. I didn’t even know anything about that. Whatever happened, I landed in the water and in my efforts to get back into the kayak, it ended up completely filling with water. There was absolutely no possible way I was getting back in that kayak. As I bobbed around the boat, trying to hang on to whatever I could, I could feel the panic welling up in me. I looked at the shoreline–which looked so far away– and felt quite hopeless.
My friend, in trying to help me, ended up in the bay with a boat full of water, as well. I can laugh about it now. What a sight we must have been! But at the time it wasn’t a bit funny and extremely frightening. We just started paddling toward the shore. At one point we decided to just rest a bit and as we did, my friend let out a little scream of delight. She had felt the bay floor beneath her. Somehow it felt so much safer to have the earth beneath our feet. We continued walking to the shore, pulling the water-filled boats behind us.
I won’t go into detail about how we finally got the water out of those boats and back down to our campsites, but I can tell you it would have been quite entertaining to watch! When I was finally back in the kayak (thanks to some help from my hero–my friend’s son who had walked down the impossibly rocky, uncomfortable shoreline when he noticed we were having trouble!) I found myself just longing to have my feet back on dry ground. What had brought fun and happiness when I had started out, now instead brought fear and dread. When we finally rowed (is that the right word when you are in a kayak?) into the boat launch area, I looked like a drowned rat and was quite shaken up. I also felt like a stupid idiot. Who capsizes in a kayak?? Seriously.
But while I was having my own little traumatic event, much more was going on in the world, wasn’t it? First, Christina Grimmie, the Voice contestant, was shot and killed while signing autographs and then later on, there was a horrible mass murder in Florida at a gay nightclub. Before I left on Friday, there was also a shooting at the Dallas Love Field airport–an airport that our family uses. Sometimes it feels a little like we have capsized into a swirling ocean, doesn’t it? Like we are paddling hopelessly, wondering where we are going to end up.
If you think about it, there are many analogies in my kayak story to what we are all experiencing in this world. Slowly the things we had confidence in are being removed– our freedom of religion and speech, our confidence in being able to travel or run errands without fear of being shot, and, very possibly, our freedom to bear arms.
And just like I had complete, albeit unwarranted, confidence in my kayak, so, we, too, have placed confidence in the comfortable life that we have known in our western world. But as things change and the horizon grows darker, we find ourselves becoming stripped of these things that have made us feel safe and secure. And we, too, are left paddling in the ocean with only a life vest.
But let’s not forget! We, of all people, have the one and only life vest that will always hold as we swim in this mass of chaos. The Holy Spirit comforts and helps us as we go about our lives here on earth. In fact, perhaps we are finally being stripped of the confidence we had in the things of this earth and turning towards God, the only One in whom our confidence should ever rest.
We will probably never find sure footing until we reach the shores of heaven, but aren’t you so thankful for the life vest that you have on, if you are a genuinely saved child of God? And aren’t you also thankful for the respites God gives us to rest in our efforts for a moment or an hour or a day, as we vacation with family or smell a rose in the garden or help someone in need? They are a little earth to walk on for just a few moments that renew and restore us and energize us once again.
God is so good. Sometimes it is hard to see that in the midst of all that is going on. And, yet, I was reminded as I looked up at the nighttime sky over the weekend and saw millions and millions of stars, of just how small I am. I know nothing. How can I — a tiny speck on the timeline of history–dare to judge what is good and what is not good? How thankful I am to be able to rely on God and His Word in this sea of life. It is only by placing our confidence there that we can know that our souls are safe and that we will accomplish God’s purpose for our lives, whatever that may be.
And, so, I hope that something good came out of my weekend adventure. I am still not interested in getting in a kayak again, although my husband tells me I must try again. I doubt he will take no for an answer, so you may be hearing more kayaking adventures sometime in the future.
Have a great Monday!