If you don’t know what a rip is, it’s essentially a strong undercurrent of water rushing back out to sea from a land mass. They can drag people hundreds of metres from the beach out to see, and are very dangerous.
There are a few ways to spot a rip. I recognised one the other day because of how the waves weren’t breaking onto shore, but instead there seemed to be layers of water flowing against and over one another in a beautiful rippling pattern. Watching the seemingly calm water, knowing the danger it signaled, I felt strangely connected with it.
On the surface right now my life seems calm and pretty. I’m adventuring in a beautiful place, surrounded by friends, and looking forward to working in ministry. But below the rippling surface, there are strong undercurrents flowing in different directions, pushing against each other, overlapping and dragging me with them. Powerful pulls towards different places, different people, and different opportunities, which seem to ebb and flow, drawing me with them and then pushing me back out, and never really placing me anywhere. And people who care for me, but don’t understand the disturbance underneath, all believe they know which is best, their voices like waves crashing over my head while my heart is being pulled and tossed around below.
These undercurrents of life, always pulling and pushing, make me feel as though I am caught in a rip. The shore has been my goal, my intended destination, for years. Possibly my whole life. But if I try to swim directly towards it, I am pushed back out to sea. So I have tried to swim beside it, always keeping it in sight. Always intending to find calm waters which will wash me towards it. But the undercurrents are wide, so wide, and I find myself constantly asking God if I will find their end before exhaustion takes me over.
With one word from Christ, the raging sea became calm. How much more will my heart find peace in Him?
Rather than fighting the currents, or searching for the right way out of them, I need to allow myself to be drawn further out into the ocean of God’s power and love. Perhaps it is not yet time for me to reach the shore, or perhaps from further out at sea, I will be able to see the peaceful waters which will carry me there.
It is not easy to let the currents draw you away. Deep waters are scary, whether real or metaphorical. But mostly I think it’s the loss of control that drives the fear of being swept away from shore. We cannot control the waters or the direction they take us, and that is one of the scariest parts of walking with God. It is also one of the most exciting parts, if we let it be.
I’m not sure what happens from here. I’m not even sure if I know how to let God draw me out, or what that looks like. It is part of the Christian life that we are always learning, re-learning, stretching, and growing. But one thing I do know is that God has never let me down before, and that He is worthy of my complete trust… I need to keep reminding myself of that. I think we all do.