The Lord is good and does the right thing;
he teaches sinners which way they should go.
God guides the weak to justice,
teaching them his way.
All the Lord’s paths are loving and faithful
for those who keep his covenant and laws.
Please, for the sake of your good name, Lord, forgive my sins, which are many!
Where are the ones who honor the Lord?
God will teach them which path to take.
They will live a good life,
and their descendants will possess the land.
The Lord counsels those who honor him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are always looking to the Lord
because he will free my feet from the net.
This past weekend, our family took a mini vacation to the lake. We rented a house right off the main channel of the lake. The house had a dock and, on our last evening, I decided to go for a swim and to watch the sunset from the water. After treading water for a few minutes and letting my body adjust to the current, I started to swim away from the dock. As it was evening, there were many boats heading back to shore for the night. The heavy boat traffic created a strong wake around the dock. Waves came rolling up, over and over. I could hear the dock creaking and groaning as it was rocked repeatedly up and down and back and forth. For awhile, I tried to push through the waves as I swam, using my arms to cut through the water and kicking my feet to make a path. As I paused for a moment to tread water and catch my breath, a wave moved underneath me and lifted me up. I allowed myself to be carried a little farther along my path. I suddenly realized that I could use the extra waves to my advantage and have a more productive swim.
Instead of channeling all of my body’s energy into cutting through the waves, I decided to let go and allow the waves to do the heavy swimming for me, thereby reserving my energy for the swim back to the dock.
It occurred to me that many of us approach life trying to cut through the waves. We’re constantly exerting energy trying to make something happen, prevent something from happening or sustain something that is happening. We pull the burden of living onto our own shoulders instead of allowing God to carry us through, so that we only cry out to God for help when we feel our heads going under water. The result of living a life pushing through waves is that we end up exhausted, burnt out and sinking into the watery depths.
But I think that God has a different strategy for our swim through life. God wants to lead us, to guide us, to help us and to sustain us. He’s right there, waiting to take the burden from us. But so often, in our need to be in control, we don’t let him. We fall into the trap of thinking, “I can do this on my own.” We want to be independent, when from the beginning of creation it is clear that we were designed to be co-dependent. We need God. And we need the people God puts into our lives to help us along the way.
God, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the Redeemer and Sustainer, the One who IS wants to help US! In fact, he has given us an abundance of resources to aid us, not the least of which is the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
That’s not to say that we don’t have work to do. God’s not sending some celestial cruise ship out for us to ride through this life. We’re swimming–we have to keep moving to stay afloat! But God is there, pushing us through the water. He gives us strength, pulls us up when we can’t go any further, renews us and leads us on.
The Psalmist writes, “My eyes are always looking for the Lord…”, and Jesus promised that when we seek, we SHALL find. So the next time you find yourself tempted to say, “I’ve got this–I can do it on my own,” remember–you don’t have to. God designed us to need him. Embrace that need and swim on knowing that you have the power of the Lord to support you.
Blessings and Peace,