About a week ago I decided to take a personal day and head to the beach. I know, not everyone gets to enjoy a personal day, much less at the beach, but such is the life of one who gets to live in God’s country here in the Northwest! Since our daughter is a camp counselor in Oklahoma for the summer, I made it a point to take her dog to the beach with me. Her cute little dog Mandy is an 8 year old Shih-Tzu, that lives up to the name. She loves car rides and walks, and since I didn’t want her alone all day long I took her with me to my escape…to which she probably wishes she never came!
It was a beautiful day in every way. I took time to pray, meditate on some scriptures and think. I visited some local shops, took some pics, ate lunch and we walked a trail. I walked along the beachfront for a distance, and then set my blanket down and set up ‘shop’ about 20-30 feet from the shore. The dog started getting hot so I took her for a stroll along the shoreline, simply because the poor hound hates water. That’s when the unexpected happened. Unbeknownst to me, the tide was rolling in – more like crashing in. For a brief moment, I glanced down at Mandy to see how she was doing when the cold tide came pounding…suddenly…and which met us with a wave about 2 feet in height! I was instantly soaked over my kneecaps in water & sand. When I had glanced down to look at Mandy I noticed the bulging eyeballs on this poor puppy unaware of what was happening. In a split second, with a straight leap upwards, all 20lbs of her was airborne…well sort of. (She’s a bit overweight to be totally airborne!) I give kudos to her for actually watching the water, managing to jump high enough as to almost get on top of the incoming wave. No sooner did she get on top of the wave did she instinctively begin dog paddling, and rode the wave a good 15 feet or so up the sandy beach. I would have been more in shock at the whole event if I wasn’t laughing so hard. Sure, I was soaked unexpectedly, but the dog who doesn’t really like the beach and pretty much hates the ocean ends up surfing a wave to the shore. As soon as she managed to get out of the water she took off running – running to find the car so she could go home. Amidst all my laughter she didn’t consider it entertaining, but by the end of the evening we were friends again and thankful we were heading home.
I was thinking back to this event and comparing it to life. Sometimes we have days when we are strolling along the water, content and happy, when a 2 foot wave from life’s ocean hits us. When it does, we are often somewhat like the grown adult or somewhat like Mandy. When the unexpected wave hits us as an adult we are surprised, a little more wet than planned, but after a few steps to the shore we dry off and shake our heads. Then there are those times it hits us and we feel the size of Mandy; when the very thing in life we hoped wouldn’t happen, just so happens to come upon us, and all we can do is jump to meet the wave and instinctively dog paddle. Have you been there? Hands down we all prefer having the vantage point of the adult, right? But sometimes those stupid ‘life’ waves come in and as much as we don’t want to admit it – we end up having a Mandy moment; where the eyes bulge and all you have time to do is jump, dog paddle and ride it out. No big spiritual resolve, no big words of wisdom, something you probably could have seen coming but you didn’t. So you just have to ride it out.
My response to it all tends to be more like Mandy some days. Once it’s all said and done, I want to hit the shore running far from the waves in hopes to never be caught like that again, oftentimes wondering why I didn’t see it coming and who I can blame for it. Our best answer is to go to God. So here’s my take-away. In John 14:26 Jesus tells his disciples this; “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” Simply put, Jesus is saying that I am your direction, what is real, and am everything pertaining to life. The waves of life are going to come. At times you will have the vantage point of an adult, at times you will have the vantage point of Mandy. The waves don’t dictate the will of God and they won't alter your course. Sometimes it may be tough on the soul to ride out some waves, but rest assured instinct will kick in and you’ll make it to dry ground. Once you do, stay in the direction you were headed. You'll destine yourself for true Life.