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My childhood days at the beach included wading as far into the ocean as my tiptoes allowed. My father, brother, and I peered across the glimmering water’s surface toward the oncoming swells. We sprang over mild waves, sharing a grin between them. Moderate heights demanded a bit more focus for a moment, but we took time between body surfing them to relate. A few swells hid among the ordinary ones, surging above our heads when we least expected them. Those giant waves overwhelmed us. We sputtered and flailed through. We prayed for a break between waves, the merciful sun to greet us when we surfaced. We didn’t have the equipment or expertise to handle them.

Only a real surfer could take the big waves.

I watch real surfers with admiration. They glide through tubes of water, skimming and swerving along the sunkissed ocean as if dancing on cerulean glass. I sigh and wonder how delightful it would be to possess such grace. I lack balance, and have struggled with rhythm and poise since youth. Teetering upon a surfboard never seemed like a natural talent my feet could perform.

Surfers train themselves to balance on their boards, then face the waves with sure footing. Some take on giant swells over seventy feet high. They don’t freak and head for shore when the water gets rough. The bigger the wave, the greater the sense of victory.

I venture into the ocean less and less, preferring to gaze at it from the beach these days. Other waves pummel me, however. Lifewaves range from tiptoe-jump distractions to rogue events swelling over my head. Sometimes I have no time to catch my breath between them. If I don’t stay balanced on my  supportive lifeboard, the waves will overwhelm me. Without balance and the right equipment, I’ll drown.

Did I mention my lack of balance? I did not enter the world with a surfboard in hand, either. An awkward soul like me needs constant training from her Coach. I must show up for workouts every day without fail, letting Him guide me toward success. He provides the wooden cross to float me over certain destruction I’d meet on my own strength. I can only jump so high without help, and big waves come to us all. It doesn’t take much to overwhelm me, a fact I can attest to with recent experience. I forgot to trust His support under my feet. If I had reacted like a real surfer, the board and I would move like a unit.

When lifewaves come, I need to remember my Coach’s words and glide united with the cross in confidence. If I resolve to life like a faithful surfant, waves will only testify to His power. The bigger the wave, the greater the victory.

How about you? Are you fed up with trying to body surf through life on your own strength, too?  Consider getting together with the Coach and taking up His board. Check out Romans for a starting place in your training guide. Catching the waves instead of letting them catch you is, after all, a matter of surfvival.

Who would like to say grace?

Hands clasped, heads bowed, steaming plates in front of us, and the question of grace fills the air. Americans once muttered prayers over their meals as a matter of course, giving the words little thought. Such religious traditions no longer abide in many households. Rote prayers fell silent across a growing number of communities within the last generation.

When ritual swallowed the question’s meaning, the world lost sight of something essential to its vitality–grace.

Who will say it? Will someone please explain why thanks for our meal is called that? Does anyone at the table remember what it is?

A starving mother, an impoverished tribal elder, or the working poor family with no assistance might recognize the relationship between a meal and salvation from death. Uncertainty of nourishment increases its value. Some thank God for more than the tastiness of their food.

Grace involves greater things than food. Unearned blessings, love-gifts from God, and all the things which color our souls with abundant life seem to factor into its category. The primary and overarching definition of grace remains embodied in only One. Grace cannot be explained as a what or a collection of whats. Grace is a  Who.

Christ, the means by which we have access to everlasting life and relationship with God, is the Person of Grace. He laid down His life to provide what we could never earn and save us from the only thing to which we were entitled –death.

Will you live a prayer? Will you take your thankfulness beyond rituals, after you leave the dinner table and exit the doors of your home?

In a world of entitlement, who will say GRACE? Which life will say JESUS CHRIST?

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:4-10).

 

 

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.”

–Isaiah 42:16

Infant eyes struggle to see beyond their reach. As vision strengthens, so does our sense of independence. We stake great confidence in what we see. Some view the darkness of evil encroaching. Others look for cheerful scenery as they walk through life, but decay overtakes the fruit and blooms. Age often steals the sight it once emboldened. Life events, world trends, and hedonistic pursuits will blind the heart, but the world could never offer lasting light. A blessed few see life well, and continue to do so beyond the limits of age. These folks perceive its wellness from a  light within.

Perception, not visual ability, determines our experience of reality. We tend to misplace our confidence in our senses and misdirect our energy toward circumstances. Perception shades our view with opaque storm clouds or illuminates it with glimmers of hope. Those who perceive well choose to focus on the sovereignty of God. The collection of atomic matter which appears solid to our eyes might seem more real than the One who planned each subatomic particle’s course, but the workings we cannot see activate exponentially greater power than the fraction available to our view.

The artful design cannot be viewed from the perspective of one pixel, but despite our inability to perceive the masterpiece, our part in its splendor remains significant. We cannot see well without the wellness within. Christ offers to illuminate our view by transforming our perspective from the inside out. Seek Him, and the hope cannot be darkened by evil or devastated by unwanted circumstances.

 

 

“The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8)

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:2-23)

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