Friday, November 20, 2009

Lone Surfer

I have a friend who is back in school and it is safe to say that she is in her late 40's. This is not the common thing amongst the people she knows. Neither her church nor her family, I would expect, provides a lot of support. As I was looking through my photos today this one struck me. A lot of times when I watch surfers it is a group of them, egging each other on to do better and laughing when one biffs it. This guy is out in less than ideal surf weather. It was a stormy day. It didn't rain where we were, but it was cool and blowing. Most people stayed away. But this guy, and a few brave or crazy others, went out in the colder temps and caught some more spectacular waves.

As I looked at this photo, I wanted to tell my friend, "See? This is what you are doing! You are out surfing alone catching the big wave. Is it risky? Is it lonely? You bet. But look at you go!"

I want to be that brave surfer, the one who goes where safety is not guaranteed, who faces the wind and cold and seeks after the God who has revealed himself in the narrow paths, in the dark valleys, in the choppy seas. Does he reveal himself in the huge stadiums with the pretty preacher with his big grin and self-help doctrine? Does he reveal himself in safety? Or does he show himself when we are tested and challenged, when struggle and trials of all descriptions come?

Sometimes that means we have to leave even the safety of our friends, to seek deeper, to find more, to delve into scripture in ways that few dare to go. Does this make us freaks? Likely. How about radical obedience? How about radical understanding of grace which allows for things like the loss of home, loss of friends, loss of life. How about walking the path He sets which seems to be so foreign to our understanding. How often when he tells me to do something do I ask, really? Puzzling. I cannot see the way through. But I want that radical faith.

I just wish that sometimes it were safer, warmer, more gentle and more socially acceptable.

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