Life Lessons of the Waves

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. -Psalm 65:5-8

One of my favorite things to do is just sit at the beach, read and listen to the waves crashing, or actually get in the water and ride the waves/jump them via jet skiing! My wife loves to listen to the waves at night, while others like to leisurely walk or run along the shore.

During this vacation, I started thinking about the waves of the sea and what lessons they might be able to teach us. Below are four life lessons of the waves.

  1. Catch the right waves!

He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. -Job 9:8

Riding the waves can be one of the most fun things to do. The feeling of exhilaration as you catch the right wave at just the right time and it “carries” you faster or further than you could swim is a lot of fun…and exhausting!

One of the challenges however, is knowing which waves to ride verse which waves to let pass. So it is in life. Many “opportunities” or “choices” come to us everyday. Wisdom is discerning which “waves” to ride and which to let pass. It is having the courage to actually ride some and also the patience to say “no” and let some go by.

Sometimes we settle for less than God has for us. Other-times we take on more than we should. This week I have rode some waves that were “duds” while I can think of many other times I attempted to ride waves that were a bit too dangerous or risky to take on! God wants to stretch us beyond what we think possible and help us overcome our fears, but he also wants us to exercise prudence, patience and wisdom.

2. Some waves are rough; others gentle but equally as powerful.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. -Psalm 42:7

It is interesting how one wave can be quite rough, but the next very gentle. Even from day to day the waves can be very different. While on this vacation, that was a reality from one day to the next.

At one point, while body-surfing, I was surprised by one “small” wave I decided to ride. Prior to this I rode some “rough” waves that beat me up a little and even left me with a few scrapes on my knee! However, this particular wave was quite smooth and gentle. And to my surprise, when I got up at the end of it, I was taken aback to see how far it had taken me; farther in fact that some of the “rougher” and “bigger” waves!

The “bigger” and “rougher” waves may be a bit more thrilling or “dramatic.” But gentle, steady waves can sometimes take us further and leave us not as exhausted or disoriented but rather quite satisfied. They may be the better choice, even if more subtle in appearance. Some opportunities are obvious; others less so, but not to be dismissed, as they may be exactly the kind to ride in that particular season.

3. Imposing Waves

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. -Psalm 46:3

On the last day of vacation the waves were looking a little bigger and even rougher. Looking at them, I figured it would be a good day to body-surf! Interestingly however, it turned out to be a reminder that appearances can indeed be deceiving!

The first couple of waves I figured I missed the right timing because they didn’t carry me very far. However, when the same experience kept occurring, I realized that while these waves had the look, they lacked the power behind them to carry you as far as it may have seemed!

Sometimes there are situations in life that look more daunting and imposing then they really are. Some situations also may look good on the surface by lack the substance in reality. We have to be careful of judging by appearances or even allowing what may seem “imposing” to hold us back from taking it on. Waves may “roar” and “foam” but we need not be afraid. Things are often not as “bad” as they sometimes appear to be!

4. Wave Cycles

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. -Ecclesiastes 3:1

It is interesting how when body-surfing, there can be “wave cycles.” There can be wave upon wave to ride at one point, and then a lack of waves to ride at another point.

There are likewise cycles in life that are important to pay attention too. If we “wait” when we ought to be acting we can miss opportunities that come our way. However, if we try to “act” when we ought to “wait” we can become quite frustrated. For some, seasons of “action” are scary. For others, seasons of “waiting” are hard. But each season has it purpose.

During seasons of action, we need to enjoy the ride! We don’t always “feel” in control as the waves are carrying us or we are being tossed and turned under the waves power; but it is exciting. During seasons of waiting we have opportunity to regain energy, recover from the last season, reflect on the past and future and make some adjustments.

Waves in life will always be coming at us. Some waves we need to ride, though timing is critical. Others we need to let go. Some are rougher while others are smoother but equally as powerful. Some can be deceiving in appearance. But these lessons can help us as we navigate the waves of life. Enjoy the ride!

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