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Talons gripping the crag’s edge, the eagle gazes across miles of sheer rock face. Treetops and low clouds obscure the stream on the floor below. He attunes each feather to the wind’s whisper. When the call embraces his pinions just so, he leaps. Not a trial step or tentative wiggle of his pinky toe, but a headlong dive over the ravine. Sunlight meets a twinkle in his fearless eyes. The wind catches his wings and buoys him aloft. Proving the substance of his confidence. As it had done before.

I teeter at the edge of a windy ravine when

  • a challenge demands training and experience I don’t have
  • resources shrink
  • crises overwhelm me
  • a calling requires more time than I can spare
  • Inefficacy hobbles my dreams

Have you been there with me?

My toenails grip the precipice until its chalky edge crumbles. I cry out to the Lord, “I can’t do this!”

He knows I can’t deal with this on my own.

Of course He knows. So, I might ask, “Why did you let me get into this situation?”

I cannot discern an answer, but the wind seems to beckon me. Not into an argument, but a leap. Will I abandon my futile grip, my intent to figure it out, my delusion of control? Dive into the divine embrace and trust Him to bear me up?

The option to back away from faith looms in my shadow. Ahead, immense depth gapes with nothing to uphold me but the power of an invisible force. And the wings He crafted for me. Oh, yes, how could I forget? He and I have done this before.

When my strength and resources fell short, He showed up. Every time I asked. Every time I stepped out in faith to answer His call. That updraft always proves stronger than the gravity of my life.

I find myself pausing to ask why less often. Without glancing back, I shout into the gale, “It’s all up to You!” I squint and leap into the majestic rush. Wings spread in faith, I soar along the sun-spangled drafts I’d never witness on my own power.

Thank You, Lord, for opportunities to strengthen my faith and empowering a thrilling flight.

 

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

 “I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).

Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
 I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:7-8).

 

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.

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