‘Try to remain calm at all times. A calm surfer is a better surfer.’
How are you meant to remain calm when hundreds of tons of ocean are crashing and roaring round you with such speed and terminal force?
I’ve been thinking and maybe I’m starting to get it. There are probably two dangers for an uncalm surfer. One, you might get exhilarated by the ocean, lose your focus and do something stupid. Alternatively you might get intimidated by the ocean and panic, lose your focus and yep, you know the next bit.
So you remain calm.
By getting to know the ocean. By realising it is not random chaos. There are patterns. Rhythms. For those who wait and watch, and immerse themselves in it. Such people never harness the sea, it’s much too vast and they have too much respect for it.
But by learning to be calm in its immensity, they are able to ride the waves!
Life is immense. At the beginning of a new year with all its opportunities and challenges we may feel a mixture of things. We could get carried away with the exhileration of certain moments and come a cropper by losing control. Or we could feel intimidated by evil and sorrow and let the weight of the dark stuff send our faith and moods crashing.
New Testament writer Paul was familiar with both exhileration and intimidation. The Son of God had mounted an epic global rescue mission and Paul was thrilled to be part of it. But he was also experiencing the painful persecution of those who couldn’t or wouldn’t cope with the social ripples.
How did he remain calm?
By remembering that there is a God Who is in ultimate control, Whose plans of grace and mercy will not be thwarted. Paul writes:
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8 v 28)
God is in the equation. Working through ‘all’ things.
For those who watch and wait prayerfully, who learn to spot the glimpses of God in action, like the rhythm of the waves, there is a peace. Life is still immense, exhilarating, sometimes quite terrifying, but we are not alone and even our suffering is not without purpose.
So we remain calm, learning the ‘rhythms of grace’.
We submit to God’s purpose for our lives.
We learn to ride.
And it’s ok.
And for some epic surfing action from the west coast of Ireland, click on the link below: