Monday, August 6, 2012

Learning From A Song At The Beach

This past weekend, our family went to visit my Dad at the beach.  On Saturday, we took my son to swim in the ocean, which is something he can spend hours doing.  After we set up our beach chairs, umbrella, the cooler, and all the modern necessities required for spending a few hours by the ocean, we sat down and watched as Benjamin dashed out to ride the surf on his boogie board.  My wife and I talked to my Dad until Benjamin convinced me to join him out in the waves.

Now, I am not a big fan of swimming in the ocean.  I prefer pools where you can see everything in the water and there are no sharks.  Whenever I'm in the ocean, I constantly hear the theme to Jaws playing in my head the whole time.  And it doesn't help that the Discovery Channel always has "Shark Week" right before I go to the beach, either.  Nor does it help that I am aware that sharks can swim in up to two feet of water, which is not that deep.  Still, I tried to block these semi-irrational fears aside and I enjoyed playing with my son in the surf.

When I came back to my beach chair, my wife was reading a book and my Dad was listening to his i-Pod.  Popping my buds for my i-Pod into my ears, I pushed shuffle and the first song that came on was very apropos.  It was Casting Crown's "Voice of Truth."  As I'm gazing out at the ocean and a fishing boat that's off in the distance, I hear Mark Hall sing:

Oh, what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Unto the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus lives

As I listened to this beautifully truthful song, I couldn't help but connect the lyrics to our adoption process.  My wife and I feel that Jesus did stretch out His hand to us and ask us to step out onto the crashing waves.  Having just come in from playing in the waves, I knew there was a big difference from simply sitting here on the shore and watching the waves from a distance and from being right in them, where they batter against your body and try to drag you under.  There's also a big difference from being in a boat and stepping out of it into a restless ocean.  It is not easy to take that first step or the step after that.  It's hard not to focus on the waves instead of Christ.  

Some have said to us, "I don't know if I could have the kind of faith you have to do what you're doing with this adoption."  To be honest, there are days I don't feel I have the faith to do this, either.  Like Emily Dickinson, I "sway between belief and unbelief a hundred times in an hour." It was the same for the Psalmist as well.  How often did David write of how he "cried out day and night" to God?  When I look at the biblical figures of faith, I see that, often, they didn't feel the closeness of God, either, but still they trusted in Him anyway.  And how often did Jesus have to tell his disciples "fear not"?  How long before I trust Him enough that He need not remind me?

I definitely don't feel adequate to the task, which is precisely why God probably chose me to undertake it so that He, and not I, would get the glory.  

He also wants me to, "Be still, and know that I am God."  I learned that, in nautical terms, "still" is the sound piped out by the boatswain's pipe to get the crew's attention so that they will stop working and stand at attention.  That is God.  He is the boatswain telling me to stop, stand at attention, and heed Him.  This isn't always so easy to do in this frenetic world where there is always so much to do and so many things vying for my attention.  

When I get overwhelmed by the waves around me and begin to question, "How are we going to do this?  Financially?  How?" God tells me, "Be still" and to trust in Him, not our bank account.  He repeatedly points me to Psalm 37:5, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."  What seems impossible to me is possible with God.

Now I hear Mark Hall singing:

The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid."
And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory."
And out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will chose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

It's just like God to let me hear a song like this just when I need it, to calm the waves raging inside of me, battering my faith, so that I will be still and know that He and He alone is God.

Here is a video of Casting Crown's "Voice of Truth."

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