Surfing a gigantic wave intrigues me, although I have no desire to try it under any circumstances. Yet I love to watch the experts—world class surfers—ride those monster waves. Those massive waves are a rich metaphor for life. When it comes to the waves of life, we are either surfing on the edge or swamped in the depths. There are no other options. Like the surfer, all of us are riding the energy of the chaos beneath us.
God created us to live life, not life to live us. That’s why he offers us eternal life along with abundant life. We were made to ride the waves of life, not drown in its churning murky depths. But staying on top of the board requires skills developed through the proficiency of practice. In other words, we don’t give up when we fall or fail, we get back up on the board and ride some more.
Have you ever been smashed by life? Has your life ever been turned upside down in the blink of an eye? Have you ever watched the plans you so carefully made disintegrate and disappear beneath that churning green water we call life.
All of us have. No one is immune to trouble, trials, or tribulation. All three are equal opportunity employers. Not one of us is exempt.
Where do these trials come from? The easy answer for many would be God, but not everything that happens is God’s fault or will. Trials have at least four sources:
- Trials are the result of our own dumb, disobedient, or dangerous decisions.
- Trials are the result of someone else’s bad decisions.
- Trials are the result of the devil’s attack.
- Trials are the result of God’s desire to teach us to ride bigger waves.
Our responsibility is to respond, not react, to trials otherwise we can become swamped by the waves of life. So how should we respond?
- If it is the result of our choice—we repent.
- If it is the result of someone else’s choice—we forgive.
- If it is the result of the devil’s attack—we stand firm.
- If it is the result of God’s hand—we submit in faith and trust God.
When trials and tribulation are the result of God’s hand, we must also be honest and admit our feelings to God, not complain to others. When we complain, we sink deeper and deeper into the depths of the chaotic waves of life. Most of us will cry out, but we must cry out to God because he is the only one who can help us.
We must also learn to worship in the midst of our troubles. Worship lifts our surfboard up and allows us to ride on the sweet spot of life’s wave. In the darkest moment of Job’s trials, he fell on his face and worshiped proclaiming, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed by the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Trials have less effect on us once we commit ourselves completely to God. In other words, sink or swim I am riding these waves with God!