I couldn’t wait to get my feet in the water and scrunch my toes in the sand. As a Wisconsin girl, I don’t get a lot of beach time. It was May, and according to the locals, the ocean was too cold to swim in.
I pointed out a couple playing in the water about a hundred yards down the beach. My friend was sure they weren’t locals and that they were as crazy as me! After walking over a mile down the beach and back, I stopped harassing her and told her she could stay on the edge of the water while I went in.
I splashed in the waves and my giggles increased with the depth of water. As I went deeper, the strength of the waves increased. I turned my body and leaned into the waves to keep from falling over. Besides the waves coming at me, now from my right, I could feel a current flowing straight at me. This was a surprise!
Growing up around lakes with little to no current and rivers where currents flow the same direction as the water, this was something new. Waves were coming at me from one side, while the hidden current pushed at me from another. I was in about waist deep and decided that was far enough.
I’m a little stubborn, and even though the current was messing with my head, I still wanted to go under. I knew I couldn’t go out any deeper; the current was strong enough to take me somewhere I didn’t want to go. The easy solution, or so I thought, was to crouch down a little closer to shore and quickly dip my head under.
The waves seemed to be coming in groups, with a little pause between them. With knees bent and a big smile on my face, I timed my crouch for one of the breaks. When it came I crouched down quickly, only to be knocked to my bum by the current.
While I was down there I took a big breath, held my nose closed with my fingers, and dipped my head under water, only too late remembering that I was wearing sunglasses. I caught them as I sat up, feet tucked awkwardly underneath me. I tried to stand, but a wave knocked me over.
So continued the pattern of waves knocking me to my left and the current knocking me back onto my bum…over and over again. I was in shallow enough water that I was safe, but I couldn’t get back up!
I was the only one in the water and I could imagine how ridiculous I looked. I couldn’t stop laughing at myself; the pasty white girl from Wisconsin, totally out of her element, falling over in the ocean, and laughing her head off while a mass of locals looked on. Finally the waves let up enough for me to get to my feet and I headed to the sandy beach and my friend’s laughter.
As I remember my ocean debacle, I see some spiritual truths buried in the water. In life, we’re going to get knocked down – by things we can see, and things we can’t see. There are going to be trials that come at us that we see coming, like the waves. We may not be able to keep them from hitting us, but we can get ready and brace ourselves against their onslaught.
The currents, however, are another story. Those are life’s surprise attacks; things like a sudden illness, the death of a loved one, or the unexpected loss of a job. It’s harder to prepare for these things because we never know when they will hit us.
What do we do? Do we check out of life? Stay out of the ocean and keep to the safety of the sandy beach? Sometimes. After I returned from my trip I began to hear about shark attacks. The number of attacks this summer has been staggering and I would not go in the ocean right now, no matter how warm the water is!
It’s okay to step back from life once in a while, taking time to heal or rest. However, we can’t stay there. Life is made for living and God has placed you on this planet for a reason. He has a plan for you. If life has knocked you down, He can help you get back up!
We do this by spending time with God and reading His Word. A firm foundation in Christ will allow us to not be destroyed when the attacks come.
Sometimes it is really hard to get back up. You might look ridiculous. You might fall on your bum; if you do, there’s only one thing to do: try again. The great news is we aren’t alone. We’re told in Psalm 145:14 (ESV) that, “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Friends, this is great news!
God sees when life knocks you down and He’s right there to help you get back on your feet. As Toby Mac sings, “it’s never too late to get back up again!”