You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 1 John 4:11
This is what the Lord says: “I will give to Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her." Isaiah 66:12
As I type these words, Tropical Storm Chris twirls around off the North Carolina coast. Reports say it will push out to sea with a whimper, which seems fitting because a storm named "Chris" doesn't naturally elicit a great deal of fear and angst. But, like every storm, it will manage to create ripples and waves that make their way to our beaches.
A few summers ago, a more significant storm rolled into town, and our family headed to Wrightsville Beach to check out the surf. The waves were impressive. They rose to great heights and then came crashing down. Surfers lined the horizon, but all the other beachgoers stayed out of the water for safety, everyone except me.
A sudden lapse in common sense had me convinced it was a good idea to get in an epic bodyboard session. So, out I went. For a while I was okay, and because of that, I got a tad bit cocky. I turned around to brag and show off for my wife. That's when it happened. WHAM! A wave I didn't see coming took me off my feet and tossed me like a rag doll. Underneath the water I went for what felt like an eternity. Completely disoriented, I didn't know which way was up but knew I needed air quick. Somehow, I managed to wash up on shore, a sandy, scarred and bloody mess.
On that day, coming in contact with a ruthless wave rattled me for a moment. But, an encounter with Christ's love is what turned my world upside down for good. Just like the wave, we often underestimate the force behind God's grace and mercy. It's a powerful force like none other.
It changes our perspective. It heals our heart. It ushers in hope. It floods our darkness with light. It restores our soul. The ripple effects from this encounter touch everything: our relationships, our attitudes, our actions, our fears, and our purpose.
Getting lost in this current leads us to freedom and peace. When Scripture speaks about this peace, they often describe it as a river or waves in the sea. There's motion, activity, and flow. It is never stagnant, passive or idle.
A love like this can be scary, so it's no wonder many of us keep our toes in the sand. We might get our feet wet and test it out, but only where it's safe, manageable and doesn't require a great deal of faith. Sadly, we often settle for the security of the shore and leave the waves for people who are a bit more courageous than ourselves. But, the transformation we crave doesn't happen without an encounter. The only way for God to do something new in our heart is to get swept away in His love.
- How has God's love served as a powerful force in your life? Where has this encounter led you?
- Where do you need to leave the security of the shore to experience the peace God provides?
God, let Your love wash over me. Lead me towards a peace that passes all understanding. May this encounter change me forever. While my world gets turned upside down, allow my eyes to focus on You and You alone. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.